Washed-rind Cheeses Ripened with Beer
Washing the outside of a cheese as it ripens keeps the rind from cracking and exposing the interior. It promotes the growth of pinkish-orange Brevibacterium linens (B. linens), which produces the “stink” in stinky cheese, and meaty, pungent flavors. The liquid used for the wash—brine, wine, beer or spirits—contributes its own flavors.
Estrella Family Creamery, Montesano, WA
A mild, ultra-creamy Taleggio-style cheese, rind-washed in Pike Tandem Double Ale from Seattle’s Pike Brewery.
River Valley Ranch, Westfield, WA
Raw milk tomme (a style of cheese from the French and Swiss Alps), rind-washed in Naughty Nellie Ale from Seattle’s Pike Brewery.
König Ludwig Bierkäse
Schoenegger Käse-Alm, Sulzberg, Austria
A classic Bavarian cheese, made from raw milk from cows fed on fresh grass and hay. The delicate yellow, semi-hard cheese with small holes is ripened in dunkel lager from the König Ludwig Brewery in southern Bavaria.
Chimay a la Bière
Abbaye Notre Dame de Scourmont, Baileux, Belgium
A semi-soft pressed cow’s milk cheese made under the supervision of the monks at the abbey. Its natural rind is bathed in Chimay Trappist beer, for a cheese that is pungent, but with a rich flavor that is not as strong as the aroma.
Barick Obama and Fil-a-buster
Lazy Lady Farm, Westfield, VT
Barick Obama is a brick-shaped pasteurized goat cheese ripened for about five weeks. Fil-a-buster is a three-pound wheel of raw goat milk cheese that is “banded” with spruce bark. Cheese maker Laini Fondiller likes to use dark beer to wash the cheeses.
Sartori Foods, Plymouth, WI
Winner of Best New Cheese and Best American Cheese at the 2008 World Cheese Awards in Ireland. It has the nutty flavors of a parmesan with the texture of a cheddar, and is soaked in New Glarus Raspberry Tart Ale to add fruity notes.
Faribault Dairy, Faribault, MN.
The creamery’s St. Pete’s Select Blue Cheese, a raw cow’s milk cheese, is bathed in Summit Winter Ale, a strong brown ale in the winter warmer tradition from Summit Brewing Co. This cheese is one in a series of three “Blues and Brews” projects between the brewery and the creamery: other seasonal cheeses have incorporated Summit’s Oktoberfest and Scandia Ale. Appropriately, the sandstone caves at Faribault Dairy were actually used as beer cellars from the 1800s until Prohibition.
Carré à la Moinette and Fromage à la Saison Dupont
Brasserie Dupont, Tourpes, Belgium
Semi-soft cheeses, with the rinds washed with Moinette and Saison Dupont beers, respectively. The well-known farmhouse brewery also makes Moinette au Malt et Houblon, a cheese that incorporates malt and hops.
Julie Johnson is the editor of All About Beer Magazine.