I've talked before about the joys of beer and cheese on this blog. Dave happened to buy some Irish cheese in the shops and we had some Irish beer so the idea of having an Irish beer and cheese night formed. We rang some people and Thom and Séan and his wife agreed to come over for a night of beer and cheese.
The beers were all Irish, we got a selection of almost all the bottled craft beers you can get in Ireland. There was Porterhouse Hophead and Plain; O'Hara's Stout, Red, Curim Gold and Aldi Ale; Whitewater's Clotworthy Dobbin and Belfast Black; Hilden's Belfast Blonde and Cathedral Quarter.
The cheese came from the supermarket and Sheridans Cheesemongers. There was Cashel Blue, Tipperary Camembert, Wexford cheddar with chives, Knockanore smoked, Mileens, Coolea mature and Ryefield Goats Cheese.
All this was served with homemade brown bread, cheese crackers, chutney and grapes. Sean also brought some tasty olives and chutney. I can recommend a beer and cheese night if you don't like cooking much but still want to invite people over for food and drinks. It's really easy to prepare. All you have to do is unwrap the cheese and lay it all out on some nice plates.
We tasted the lighter beers with the lighter cheeses first then moved on to the stronger darker beerswith the stronger cheeses like the cashel blue. The knockanore smoked was especially popular, it was all gone by the end of the night. I liked the Mileens cheese a lot, I thought it went well with the Curim Gold but others didn't. That's the funny thing about beer and cheese, I could recommend lots of matches here and you could try them and be wondering why on earth I thought they went together. Much better to have your own beer and cheese evening and find your own perfect match. I usually try a few cheeses with each beer as the tastes change with each different cheese.
The best Irish beers on the night were agreed to be Porterhouse Plain, Carlow's Aldi Ale and Porterhouse Hophead. So the Porterhouse are obviously doing things right with their new bottling line. Very disappointing was Hilden's Cathedral Quarter. It really didn't taste right and we wondered if we'd gotten a bad bottle but I remembered I had this recently in a pub and it wasn't right then either. So perhaps there was a whole bad batch or maybe it's supposed to taste like this which isn't a good thing.
Thom brought along a few beers which were duly tasted. He also brought an experimental beer of his which had been left sitting on the yeast for ages. This is a big no no in brewing as it leads to autolysis which can lead to off flavours. Not so in the case of this beer, it was fantastic and I look forward to tasting a carbonated version soon.