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Wednesday, June 16th, Counterpoint in Golden Hill held a beer and cheese pairing with The Lost Abbey and Venissimo Cheese. Four pairings were offered for a very reasonable price of $18 or $5 each for 8oz or beer and 1/2oz of cheese, these were:
- Devotion paired with Pondhopper
- Red Barn paired with Pecorino Limone
- Lost & Found paired with Vlaskaas
- Judgement Day paired with Gruyere
There was a fifth pairing available as well available for $12 (presumably because both the beer and cheese are much more expensive) Framboise de Amarossa paired with Cambazola Black Label.
We opted for the four standard pairings and skipped the Framboise de Amarossa. Counterpoint is a fairly small space, not tiny but not huge, and every table was full, but it didn’t look like anyone was having to stand up. I noticed about half the people there had beer and cheese pairings on their tables.
The first pairing, Devotion and Pondhopper went well together. It was my first time trying all the beers except for Judgement Day, I loved the aroma of the beer but the taste of the cheese overpowered the beer just a bit I think. Not a bad pairing though.
The second pairing, Red Barn and Pecorino Limone was our least favorite of the four. Neither of us were huge fans of the beer, but the I just didn’t feel the cheese went particularly well with the beer. The cheese had some citrus from lemon peels in it, and I would have preferred a more hoppy beer, something with some citrus or grapefruit hop flavors.
Lost & Found paired with Vlaskaas was by far my favorite pairing of the night. The beer was malty with very little hops coming through, a beer I generally wouldn’t like much, but it paired perfectly with the Vlaskaas cheese. Both the beer and the cheese were rich and creamy, they complimented each other perfectly.
The last pairing was Judgement Day and Gruyere. I had had this beer once before however I wasn’t a big fan of it that first time. This time I enjoyed it much more, I’m not sure what to attribute that to. It paired with the Gruyere pretty well, but Judgement Day is so rich, it’s a 10.5% ABV Quadruple style ale which has plenty of complex characteristics on it’s own. There’s definitely some very rich fruits and chocolate as well as raisins (and people with pallets better than mine say they taste vanilla, caramel and toffee as well). I felt the Gruyere didn’t quite stand up to this beer. The Gruyere was itself a very strong cheese, but I felt like I was hardly tasting anything at all when taking a bite of the cheese after sipping on the beer. This didn’t diminish the experience too much, as I cleansed my palate a bit and enjoyed the cheese and beer separately.
The pairings for the most part were great, and the price was very reasonable. I look forward to more events like this at Counterpoint and elsewhere around town.
Photos by Kinsee Morlan