Goats cheese and beer. Who would have thought it? I’ve always gone for light jammy reds or sparkling whites. So I was pleasantly surprised when my friend Jared picked this match as his favourite from our last tasting together. Jared by the way is the owner of London Cheesemongers, who do a range of markets in London and have a new cheese shop near Sloane Square. He is also an excellent cheese monger and a jolly nice chap.
I get it though. Sinodun Hill, a soft goats cheese, has a Geotrichum rind. Geo, to it’s friends, is a kind of yeast, often found in partnership with a fellow fungi called Penicillin Candidum on the rinds of mould ripened cheese. The flavour of the Geo goes well with the yeasty flavour of this unfiltered bottle conditioned IPA from the Kernel Brewery. Sinodun is a lactic cheese, a style for which the milk is set very slowly leading to a soft moussy texture and a fresh acidity. The combination of creamy texture and carbonation is always a winner for me. My favourite thing about this match is that the acidity of the cheese contrasts and really highlights the amazingly intense burst of passionfruit so characteristic of the Galaxy hop. It's like drinking beery Lilt.
Jared pointed out that this exciting match might be batch specific. What he meant is that as cheeses change all the time, this pairing might only work for this particular batch. Batches of cheese change as the weather changes or because of what the goats happen to be eating (goats are capricious eaters). I think even the cheese maker’s mood might affect the flavour and texture of the cheese. For this reason you can’t make cheese to a fixed unchanging recipe, it’s what makes proper cheese so exciting. Kernel beers are equally exciting, as Evin and his brewers change their recipes all the time, using different hops or different recipes, maybe just for fun and novelty’s sake but maybe also in reaction to different harvests of malts and hops. My friend Bill Oglethorpe, a great cheese maker and affineur, once said to me ‘if you don’t play with your cheese it will play with you,’ a phrase that could equally apply to beer. Wise words.
You can buy Sinodun Hill from London Cheesemongers. I will be doing a French and British tasting in their tasting rooms on the 30th of March and may well be using it, unless Jared and I change our minds and find something else nice. You can also buy Sinodun from Neal’s Yard Dairy and Kernel IPA from the brewery itself or any self respecting beer shop. For tastings, cheese tips and other nuggets of wisdom largely but not exclusively related to cheese, speak to me.