Monday, October 25, 2010

Cheese and Beer? Yes, please!

This city is just so cool sometimes. Know what's making it better? The recent rise of all these daily coupon sites. Yep, I think I get about 15 of them in a day and I'm getting addicted. Uh ohhh...

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:
That completely exceeded my expectations. I mean, we all know I have a huge appetite so I got pretty happy knowing this tasting might even be a bit gluttonous. Nice move, Artisanal!

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.

The best part was the third round of pairing the cheese and beer together. You would never know just how amazing the two would go together. Stone's smoked porter beer went the best with everything but it really was awesome the way certain flavor profiles matched, just like you think wine should whilst eating cheese. We really had fun:
They're doing a mozzarella making class soon and I think we're all gonna sign up for it. It's so awesome to just do something different every now and then. We ended our evening with a couple of drinks at Bobo (of course) and talked about what other fun things like this we can do. What a good Friday! :)

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