Cheese and…. beer. Who knew?

Hallertau tasting rack consists of five beers
The beer lineup at Hallertau for cheese pairing

Last week I was fortunate enough to get my hands on tickets to a beer and cheese matching night at Hallertau put on in collaboration with Kapiti. What was even more fortunate was that I also managed to get myself a sober driver for the evening.

When we turned up I was a little surprised that there wasn’t more interest in this event, but I guess Hallertau being waaay out in Riverhead and the event being on a ‘school’ night may have scared a few punters off.

Being eager beavers, we turned up well before kickoff so it seemed pretty prudent to grab a beer to get us started. Hallertau had Rogue Yellow Snow IPA on tap so I grabbed one of them, Evan ordered a Minimus and the girls had some mulled wine to warm their cockles.

Yellow Snow isn’t the most appetising name, it reminds me of Dad jokingly saying to me on my first trip to the mountain; “Don’t eat the yellow snow, that’s where the huskies pee”. Sure, we don’t have too many huskies on our mountains, but the theory still holds true. Huskies, snowboarders; same, same. At any rate, the beer didn’t taste how I imagine husky pee does and I found it quite balanced; as opposed to the big overpowering hops and bitterness I normally expect from US brewed IPAs.

Before too long, Steve Plowman (headbrewer at Hallertau) took centre stage and kicked the evening off. As plates of cheese and racks of beer were distributed we were told the evening didn’t really have an order of events and pre-determined matchings and that we would be free to make our own matches, defined by our own palates. This was a refreshing new take on a matching evening and it encouraged discussion at the tables.

Our big plate of Kapiti cheese for matching with Hallertau beer

By the way, did I mention much cheese we got?! A lot. Check out the picture.

Now you would think that by this time of my beer drinking life I would be a lot better at remembering to take notes about flavours, fragrances and pairings etc. But, no. I tend to have this misplaced confidence in my memory recall and as such rarely take notes at all. On this occasion the fact that everybody else was making notes ensured I did the same, but who knows where they are now, as I write this entry?

One thing I do recall is that my favourite pairing of the evening was the Kapiti Kikorangi with Halertau’s Copper Tart. The funky ‘blue’ flavours of the Kikorangi seemed to balance perfectly with the malty sweetness of ‘#3’.

We were also treated to a glass of Hallertau’s Funkonnay in our tasting racks. I won’t bore you with review of it when you can read a much more thorough one on Denise’s blog of X-Ale, but I will say it definitely had that oak-like aroma and flavour you get from a Chardonnay. Don’t let that put you off though, there are so many flavours going on that it really is an experience to drink.

As well as the Funkonnay tasting, Kapiti had collaborated with Hallertau to bring a Porter Noir washed rind cheese to taste as well. There were two versions of the Porter Noir washed rind, with one having been aged for five weeks and the other for three months. The white outer mould on this cheese had a huge tart taste that really cut through the other flavours when it hit your tongue. I thought that the bitterness from the Statesman seemed to blend well with this cheese. It would have been good to try this with a Porter Noir… hint, hint for the next one, guys.

And speaking of the next one, you should get yourself tickets to the next Beer and Cheese Tasting which will be held at Kapiti’s CBD store on June 7.

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