It was always going to be a risk. Mixing drunken cheese and beer a week before Christmas. Would the pull of last minute Christmas shopping be too great? Would office parties decimate our normally loyal local following?
We’d invited Redchurch to come and tell south-west London about their beers. But, because we believe a ‘meet-the-brewer’ night has become a bit tired, we wanted to do something different. So, we brought cheese.
And not just any cheese. Drunk cheese. Cheese that had sipped too much from the cup of plenty. Cheese that had lain down and accepted its fate. Cheese that had slept in and been late for work.
Ubriaco is an Italian word which means ‘drunk’. And at Borough Market, they have some exceptional ubriaco cheese. Cheese that has been matured, submerged, in red wine or golden ale or white wine for 6 months or more. What better salty snack to match with fine London beer? Our cheeses of choice were:
Semi soft (3 month) cows cheese matured in a light French blonde Ale, of the same name. Creamy, soft tropical, subtle beer flavour.
Barone Rosso 24 months old raw cow cheese, experimental, only 50 wheels made, big flavour explosion, heavy raw milk, slight candy, vanilla, builds up to big spicy finish, awesome cheese!
Pasteurised cows milk, washed in malty beer from the dolomite monks. Medium firm, yeasty, malty, dry.
Soft blue matured in sweet wine with Orange peel. Grapes from volcanic soil, delicate blue with long oranges finish.
To match our cheeses, the fine fellows of Redchurch (Mark and James, the head brewer) brought along Tarte Lette, Paradise Pale, Bethnal Pale, Great Eastern IPA, Hoxton Stout, Sauvage Blanc and Shoreditch Blonde.
We started out with grand plans to try and match each beer to the cheese of choice, so we started with the Blonde and the Margot (matured in blond ale) and then the Barone Rosso with the Paradise Pale.
But the clamour to start trying each of the beers with each of the cheeses became too great and soon everyone had a handful of glassed in front of them. I particularly enjoyed the stout with the Barone Rosso (a real punch in the mouth kind of cheese).
The great thing about beer and food matching is that there’s no right answer. If someone prefers a stout and someone prefers a pale ale, then that’s what they prefer. Taste is subjective and personal. And it should stay that way. We’ll never try and tell you what to drink, how to drink or which glass to use. Drink great beer and eat great food - nothing else matters.
James Rylance, the head brewer, was on good form - despite it being the day after his Christmas party. His enthusiasm for beer and his knowledge and passion shine through. In a beer world full of nice guys, he’s right up there. And the beers he makes are really great. Underrated is our view. Not extreme enough to garner the headlines, but in a world moving back towards balanced beers, Redchurch are in a good place. But they’ll also keep pushing the boundaries - the experimental beers they have coming through sound truly amazing.
We can’t wait to try them.
Every time we do an event, we end the night thinking we should do more of them. Fun, sociable, new friends, old friends, good beer and, on this night, good cheese.
As our guests, stumbled, ubriaco into the night, we tidied up the glasses and looked ahead to our next event, New Year’s Eve with Rogue. If you’re at a loose end, and fancy a chilled night with some great beer, then why not come along?