Tasmania’s Bruny Island Beer Co is spreading word to the mainland about the natural affinity of its beers and cheeses.
The cheesemaker turned brewer recently launched its beers into Sydney at Creek and Cella in Leichhardt, following new distribution via Bucket Boys.
In attendance was brewer Evan Hunter, who had paired five Bruny Island beers and cheeses, including the Whey Stout (Bruny Island’s riff on a milk stout) with Saint Noir, its white mould, camembert-style cheese.
“Our head cheesemaker describes it as a classic cookies and cream style pairing. The creaminess and sweetness of the stout is really complemented by the creaminess of the cheese,” Hunter told Australian Brews News.
Having launched the brewery in early 2016, Hunter said Bruny Island has had some wins in terms of educating people about beer and cheese matching.
“The light turns on in people’s heads when you just explain a simple truth like, beer and cheese are both fermented products of grass, ultimately,” he said.
“That link becomes even stronger if you go into a farmhouse context and the grass that grew the grain that made the beer is the same as the grass that fed the cows that made the cheese.”
Bruny Island owner Nick Haddow said he and Hunter always have one eye on the cheese when they are making beer.
“I would say that we don’t make a beer that doesn’t work well with at least one of our cheeses,” he told Australian Brews News.
Haddow hopes to displace wine as Australians’ default drink match for cheese and he passionately argues his case in his recently released book. Milk. Made..
“Wines are very high in alcohol, they’re usually drunk too young, they’ve got astringency, they’ve got tannin, all of these things are just the opposite of what is in cheese,” he said.
“And people often buy three different cheeses; a blue cheese, a goats cheese and a hard cheese, and expect one wine to go well with all of them.
“It just doesn’t happen. There isn’t a wine made for that purpose, whereas the accessibility of beer is far greater.
“If you end up spending $100 on a bottle of wine, it’s almost incumbent on you to take it very seriously, whereas beer by its nature is a bit more fun.
“On pure bang for your buck enjoyment, a really well made beer and a well made cheese are going to come together way more quickly and coherently than often wine does,” he said.
Hunter said Bruny Island has opened up new matching possibilities through its program of washing cheese in different beers.
“The results of that have been amazing. It’s been interesting to see that if you wash a cheese in a particular beer, that cheese may not necessarily match perfectly with the beer that it’s washed in, but the beery characteristics that go into the cheese may lead to it pairing excellently with a different beer,” he said.