Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tasting @ Against The Grain.

I've blogged Against The Grain (620 6th Street - right next to Grape & Grain btwn. Ave. B & C) ever so briefly before, but I had the pleasure of going to a cheese & beer tasting there yesterday. Yeah, you heard me right, beer & cheese tasting, NOT wine!!!

The formidable beers came care of Against the Grain which has an insane lineup of beers that you won't find on the beaten track & the cheeses were provided by Saxelby Cheesemongers who make their home in the culinary bastion of Essex Market (again, previously blogged).

There were 5 courses in said tasting & here is my take on the events...

Course #1
Nettle Meadow Kunik Cheese with Grapes in a Lavender Honey & Victory Pilsner.

I founds the cheese (from NY state) to be a delightful mix of Brie & Goat Cheeses. The grapes were tart & accompanied the dish perfectly. The beer was a classic Pilsner.

I gave this course a 9/10.

Course #2
Brovetto Dairy Harpersfield soaked in Ommegang Beer (NY State) w/spicy walnuts & Bear Republic Racer 5.

The cheese was good (vague, I know). I'm not sure if the texture was the cheese itself or the fact that it was soaked in beer, but I loved it. The beer was a 'hoppy' pale ale which I enjoyed. However, I found that if you ate the cheese & nuts together, the spiciness of the nuts totally overpowered the cheese. I gave this course a 5/10.

Course #3
Meadow Creek Dairy Grayson with Spiced Figs & Saison Dupont.

I really like this cheese from Virginia. It had a soft texture of a Brie or Asiago, it also has a smoky aftertaste which I enjoyed. The beer was a white ale which screamed of summer. I'd match it to a Hoegaarden. The spiciness of the figs didn't bother me as much as the walnuts in the previous course since the figs were tart. I gave this course 8/10.

Course #4
Cobb Hill Farm Ascuntey Mountain w/Black Cabbage Bread & Sixpoint Oatmeal Stout.

The cheese from Vermont was very strong, with 'Gouda-like' qualities. I liked it. The beer was a stout, which I'm not a huge fan of, but it put Guinness to shame. I scored this course an 8/10.

Course #5
Jasper hill Farm Bayley Hazen Blue with prune jam & Smuttynose Robust Porter.

The cheese from this course was also from Vermont. Teddy has had me hooked on blue cheeses ever since he served up an amazing Potted Stilton, so I was excited about this course. I found the cheese to be creamy, yet very salty when eaten by itself. The jam 'cut' the edge off the saltiness though.

The porter was very strong & being a lager man, I found it to be very overpowering. I would have given this course a 10 if it wasn't for the beer. I gave this course a 9/10.

All in all, it was an excellent night. I like cheese, I like beer; the night was ill. Check out Against The Grain on 6th St. for beers you won't find anywhere else.

Head to Essex Market & Saxelby Cheesemongers for fine cheeses in the LES.

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