A couple of months ago, I got one for this Oktoberfest cheese and beer pairing class put on by Artisanal. I was intrigued by it because Dennis Flynn, a brand specialist from Stone Brewery, would be there doing the beer "educating" and I'm a huge fan of Stone IPA. I thought it would be so cool to meet and talk with him. My girlfriends and I decided to buy tickets and let me just tell you...I'm so glad we did.
I had no idea what to expect with this thing. Being that it's NYC, I pictured us getting the tiniest bite of cheese and a half sip of beer. I was very pleasantly surprised when that wasn't the case! They started with a cocktail hour that was awesome. There was champagne, homemade pretzels with mustard, different sausages, cheese fondue...SO good. When they'd finished setting the other room up, we walked in to find this place setting:
We started with tasting all the beers first. Dennis went through each flavor profile and alcohol strength and we really did learn a great deal! Also, he was mighty generous with the pours if any of us ran out of a particular beer we liked. Yay, Dennis! My favorite was definitely the oaked arrogant bastard (3rd one in the center):
On to the cheese. Holy balls, some of the cheese on this plate is some of the best I've ever tried:
The one at one o'clock was crusted with espresso grounds and quite possibly the best cheese I've ever had. There was also a goat gouda that was delicious (I am not a fan of goat cheese) and one called 'sea hive' that was a cheddar-like cheese with a honey flavor. They were all so good.