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Beer Town: The Cheese Stands With The Beer

Beer and cheese tastings are nothing new around Atlanta. But suddenly it seems more and more cheese is showing up alongside beer both at familiar and surprising places.

Recently, the Ritz Carlton Buckhead (3434 Peachtree Road N.E., 404-237-2700) began offering a selection of three paired beers and cheeses from a menu created by sommelier Robert Evans. The tasting is available daily for $18 in the Lobby Lounge.

Rogue Creamery

Not surprisingly, the Ritz’s take is quite elegant, with cheeses artfully arranged on a wooden board, accompanied by crackers and nuts, plus jellies and jams from Fairywood Thicket farm in Fairburn, GA.

Currently, Evans is featuring two Oregon companies, Rogue Creamery and Rogue Brewery — which aren’t affiliated, except by location, dedication to quality, and some collaborations that blend beer and cheese.

The pairings include, Morimoto Soba Ale and Morimoto Soba Ale Cheddar, Hazelnut Brown Nectar and Smokey Blue Cheese, and Chocolate Stout and Chocolate Stout Cheddar.

Each offers a winning combination of flavors. But the blue cheese, which is smoked over hazelnut shells, is particularly good with the nutty brown ale.

hazelnut-brown-label

Evans will be leading a group tasting every Thursday from 5:30-6:30 p.m. 404-240-7035 for reservations.

In addition to offering a daily cheese plate, the Brick Store Pub in Decatur (125 East Court Square, 404-687-0990) has been putting on a series of artisan cheese and craft beer events for over four years now.

At 6 p.m. on the first Monday of every month, folks gather in the Brick Store’s Belgian Bar to sample five different beers paired with five different cheeses. Cost is $30. No reservations are taken. You start when you’re seated, and service runs until the cheese is gone.

Brick Store partner Mike Gallagher presides over the tastings, putting together tantalizing pairings, along with lots of good information on the beer and cheese makers. Typically, Gallagher features a theme, such as Trappist ales and cheeses or Southeastern creameries and breweries.

On February 14, it’s a clever Valentine’s Day tasting, dubbed “Blue and Sour,” with three blue cheeses paired with three Belgian sour ales: Roaring 40s and Lindemans Cuvee Renee; Bayley Hazen and Oud Beersel Kriek; Roquefort and Duchesse de Bourgogne.

Recently, Georgia’s Sweetgrass Dairy used the WD-50 Imperial Stout from Five Seasons Westside (1000 Marietta Street N.W., 404-875-3232) to create a beer-washed version of its award-winning Green Hill soft-ripened, cow’s milk cheese. It will be available for tasting for a limited time at Westside.

Every Tuesday evening, it’s Beer Geek Tuesday at Cypress Street Pint & Plate in Midtown (817 West Peachtree Street, 404-815-9243), with a featured brewery, cask ale or food pairing.

Not long ago, it was four Unibroue beers paired with four cheeses from Sweetgrass Dairy. Look for more beer and cheese events soon.

13 comments Add your comment

btownsend

February 1st, 2010
5:03 pm

Enter your comments here

Beer and Cheese tonight, Feb. 1 2010 at Brick Store.

Mark

February 2nd, 2010
10:48 am

I really enjoy beer and cheese pairings and need to get over to the Brick soon for one.

I know you include food pairings lots of times, Bob, and it would be great to feature a locally-available cheese (or three!) with your beer reviews each week. It’s one of the easiest and usually affordable foods to pair with a beer and is a great way to introduce food-beer pairings to newbies.

Kathy

February 2nd, 2010
10:50 am

Cool post. I’d love a post on suggestions for hosting a home beer & cheese party. Maybe highlighting pairings with local beers and cheeses you can get at the DeKalb Farmers Market or somewhere like that.

kirkb

February 2nd, 2010
11:01 am

Oh to have such wonderful offerings without an long drive or the risk of a DUI.

Darren

February 2nd, 2010
11:07 am

It is great to see high end places starting to carry craft beer. I hope many of the chefs across Atlanta see and follow this trend.

The Beer Geek Tuesdays are quite fun at Cypress St.
Darren

Carl Perkins

February 2nd, 2010
11:45 am

Not that I can go very often, but the Ritz has been doing a good job with beer for awhile now.

The Other Matt

February 2nd, 2010
12:05 pm

I really enjoy the BSP’s tastings and try and do it several times a year.

btownsend

February 2nd, 2010
2:29 pm

Thanks for all the great comments.

I’m a huge fan of Sweetgrass Dairy in Thomasville, GA. I did a cheese making workshop there a few years ago that yielded a nice wheel of Thomasville Tomme. I took a big hunk to the Brick Store for an informal tasting and we were hard-pressed to find a beer we didn’t like with it in some way.

John Piccirillo

February 3rd, 2010
8:43 am

Bob, good article, didn’t know about the Pint and Plate on Tuesdays, will have to check it out. Hope you’re well.

Adam

February 4th, 2010
4:14 pm

That blue cheese and sour pairing sounds awesomely funky!

mike

February 4th, 2010
6:49 pm

Thanks for all the kind words guys. We’ve really had a lot of fun with beer & cheese over the years and have been very excited, humbled and enegrized but all the regulars we have for it and the level of enthusiasm we get from guests.
I love wine, it’s no secret but beer is what I drink most. It’s also no secret that wine and cheese can be glorious together. However if you want successes more often and as far as I’m concerned a more overall interesting and diverse palette of pairings with cheese – beer is where it’s at. Here’s a challenge to our wine friends ( and I mean that friends part – it’s all in good fun and good taste)including Gil. If you want to come out to the Pub and do a “wine vs. beer” with cheese withe me and we’ll open it up to the public and take a vote. I’ll do my best to kick your ass and we’ll have fun in the process. We’ve done a few of these and it’s always fun.
Thanks for writing this Bob. See you all for a pint and a wedge soon.
Cheers
Mike

sebbie

February 5th, 2010
12:47 am

Bravo Robert! I was thrilled to read about the Rogue Ales / Rogue Creamery menu offering, I’ll add it to my blog, http://www.RogueChocolateStout.com since I am the face on a bottle of beer brewed by Rogue Ales, which is infused into the Cheddar Cheese made by Rogue Creamery. I had the pleasure of spending a day in Central Point, Oregon making cheese (on the way to Slow Food Nation in Aug 2008) which included 300 pounds of Chocolate Stout cheddar. Craig filmed me pouring the beer into the curds. http://roguechocolatestout.blogspot.com/2008/11/making-rogue-chocolate-stout-cheddar.html

Amy

February 14th, 2010
3:30 pm

My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the Beer and Cheese course at the Lobby Lounge at the Ritz Buckhead last night. However, wish we would have asked to split the cheese and each get a flight of the beers. One plate of cheese (which came accompanied by water crackers, a yummy honey chutney concoction and marcona almonds) is ample to feed two hungry adults. Each beer was really good and paired nicely with the corresponding cheese. Also, one can’t go wrong people watching in the RItz Lobby Lounge on Valentine’s weekend! It was a fun start to our date night. Glad we read about it in the AJC.