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Posted: 28 November 2011
On Friday I was at the Festival of British Beer and Cheese at the Brewers Hall in the City of London.
The event had been organised by the Beer Academy and was a wonderful opportunity to experience beers old and new and to try to match them to suitable cheeses.
There were brewers from Wells and Youngs, Fullers, Meantime, Caledonian, Greene King, Everards, Marstons and Hall and Woodhouse as well as ourselves and cheeses were supplied by Denhay, British Cheese Board, Dewlay, Goodwood, Long Clawson, Milk Link and Paxton and Whitfield.
As you can imagine with such a large range of both brewers and cheese makers (is there a more scientific term for them?) the choice was huge, there were several Porters, lagers and seasonal beers as well as wheat beers, barley wines, vintage ales and IPAs. Beer strengths ranged from 3.5 to 9% with several of the beers being bottle conditioned. The more unusual brewing ingredients included raspberries (in Meantime’s Raspberry Wheat beer), honey (in Fuller’s Honeydew), liquorice (in our own Sainsbury’s London Porter) and stinging nettles (in Hall and Woodhouse’s Stinger) which gave a very strange sensation on the tongue.
The range of cheeses was equally impressive, Somerset brie and goat’s cheese vied for our attention alongside cheddars, stiltons, Lancashire, Leicestershire Reds and Cheshire. Some of the cheeses were aged for 6 to 9 months in cloths and at least one was kept in a cave. There were cheeses with fruit or chives or onions added and one had been washed in honey mead.
As you can imagine the range of both beers and cheeses means we only scraped the surface of which beer went with which cheese but all the brewers and cheese producers had a great time trying (as did the 150 plus paying members of the public).
I suggest you try 1698 with stilton (with or without cranberries) and Canterbury Jack with a nice light Cheshire cheese, but that’s only my preference.
The day was long and tiring (but was it really work?), deeply rewarding and immense fun.
I strongly recommend that you come along to the next Beer and Cheese event (or any other beer and food matching) there really is so much to experience and I guarantee you will come across new tastes as well as being able to share a beer with friends (even if you have only just met them).
Stewart Tricker - Senior Brewer