What’s In the Glass? has started to work with ORA Brewing for a series of tutored Craft Beer & Italian Cheese Tasting events in their Tottenham taproom. Gabs Bertucci, our Certified Beer Sommelier, is offering every month an ad hoc cheese and beer pairing event in the super cool ORA Brewing Taproom, set in the heart of Tottenham (N17 9SR).
After peeling back the curtain to reveal there is no such thing as a pairing wizard, you should know that the rules are simple. Just by paying attention to likes and dislikes, by thinking about how individual elements work together, you can create new and more meaningful experiences.
We had our first event on the 27th of August, featuring a selection of well-known and less known cheeses from the Italian Peninsula. We thoughtfully paired them with beers from some of the finest London based breweries: The Kernel, One Mile End, Boxcar and ORA Brewing, of course.
1. Pitalòu vs Boxcar “Tropical Blush”
Unripened fresh cheese (Lombardia)
This cheese from the Camembert family is produced only with organically farmed cow’s milk. It has a mild flavour, creamy structure and intense aroma of milk. Its rind is covered with Penicillium Candidum.
Boxcar – Tropical Blush (4.8%)
Mango, Cherry & Coconut Sour (Bethnal Green)
This cloudy bright red sour, which is packed with fruit, looks as good as it tastes.
Boxcar describe their beer as: “sour and fruity with vast amounts of sour cherry and mango added, rounded out with coconut to create this fruit-smoothie of a beer” – we were excited to get our hands on it… and it didn’t disappoint.
The sourness, sharpness and smoothness from the mango, cherry and coconut are all beautifully balanced. We loved how the sour beer delivered tartness alongside a satisfying creaminess.
Pairing: It wasn’t the most obvious choice to pair this bloomy-rinded cheese with our fruity sour beer. The paste of these cheeses is usually mildly flavoured, with sweet buttery and lactic notes posed against the salt. Many beers will pair well with the paste, but with many of these cheeses, the bloomy rind itself can be the determining factor in the success of the pairing. Bloomy rinds, formed by white moulds, give an earthy, mushroomy character when the cheese is young. Choosing to pair a balanced sour beer with a bit of funk in the flavour with a robust fruity character and a creamy finish will match the cheese without adding bitterness to the equation. The perfect pairing to crack on with the event!
2. Aged Emmental vs One Mile End “Kellerbier”
Emmental (Aged in cave)
Semi-hard cheese, cow’s milk (Italian-Swiss border)
Matured in caves, where the warmer conditions lead to a unique flavour, this cheese has the classic Emmental sweetness, but it is more intense and more complex, with a long finish as the flavour develops from sweet to tangy ‘meaty’.
One Mile End – Kellerbier (4.5%)
Unfiltered Lager (Tottenham)
Unfiltered for a more prominent flavour – Slight natural haze, super drinkable with balanced mouthfeel and a hint of sweetness at the end. This beer ticks all the boxes for a Lager and then adds some more! A perfectly balanced haze of bittersweetness, refreshing hits of citrus and… what’s that? A lush, smokey aftertaste.
Pairing: with a particular Emmental, we were looking for a specific Lager – Kellerbier are always a great bet. With more complex and intense flavours (and aromas), it’s best to pick approachable and mellow beers to emphasize the gentle sweetness. This Unfiltered Lager offers enough depth to create the bridge with our cheese – its high carbonation, medium hop character, and light body make it the ideal match for this sweet, tangy semi-hard cheese.
3. Fontal vs. One Mile End “Salvation!”
Ripened hard cheese, Raw cow milk (Piemonte)
Semi-firm cheese with a mild, nutty flavour that is almost sweet with a touch of tartness. Aged 40 to 60 days and, when matured, the rind browns. Pasteurised cow’s milk.
One Mile End – Salvation! (4.4%)
Pale Ale (Tottenham)
Brewed with Maris Otter barley, a small amount of wheat, and the many US hops Mosaic & Centennial for a pleasant tropical and floral aroma. This brew has an aroma of grapefruit and orange with balanced bitterness and a dry fresh finish.
Pairing: This Italian alpine cow cheese has a beautiful, fudgy consistency. It’s lightly spicy, tangy and has a lovely nutty finish. The bit of creaminess that lingers on the palate is cut by the clean hop bitterness of the Pacific Rain. The beer’s fruity hop flavours also help to brighten up this pairing in an adorable way.
4. Selezione Fiandino vs. The Kernel “London Sour”
Selezione Fiandino (18 months)
Ripened hard cheese, raw cow milk (Piemonte)
A special Parmigiano that patiently rests for 18 months. It is obtained from daily processed milk in copper tanks at a stable temperature of 55 °C, without adding preservatives and lysozyme: the resulting product has a characteristic granular structure and a flavour typical of the style.
The Kernel – London Sour (5.5%)
Sour beer with organic fresh raspberries (Bermondsey)
Sour beer is acidified in the kettle with lactobacillus bacteria before a secondary fermentation with yeast. The first kind of sour beers Kernel have produced before moving to mixed-fermentation, but still re-appearing every so often. Bright, clean, lemony acidity, and more straightforwardly refreshing than our saisons. Either dry-hopped or re-fermented with fruit, such as raspberries
Pairing: The most challenging pairing of the event. Selezione Fiandino is gloriously sharp, fruity, nutty and savoury with a grittiness to the somewhat creamy texture. However, one of the defining flavours is saltiness. This cheese is excellent on its own paired with beers on the lighter side of bitterness and body, where the dryness of the beer accentuates the dry and sharply intense notes of the cheese itself. But instead, we wanted jammy fruitiness, acidity and a light body… like a mild Aceto Balsamic to spritz on top of the cheese. I had the best “raspberry cheesecake” experience in a long time!
5. Parmigiano Reggiano (24 months)vs. ORA Brewing “Limoncello”
Parmigiano Reggiano (24 months)
Unpasteurised hard cheese, raw cow milk (Emilia Romagna)
Parmigiano-Reggiano is an Italian hard, granular cheese produced from cow’s milk and aged at least 12 months. It is named after the producing areas, the provinces of Reggio Emilia, Parma, the part of Bologna west of the Reno, and Modena; and the part of Mantua on the right/south bank of the Po. This aged cheese from Italy is a masterpiece of taste and lightness, a perfect balance of sweet taste and flavour. We decided to go for a complex 24 months aged.
ORA Brewing – Limoncello (6%)
Lemon IPA (Tottenham)
A tribute to the iconic Limoncello from Naples. Four pale malts, lots of flaked oats and maltodextrin for the creamy mouthfeel, and a selection of organic Femminello lemons sourced from Sorrento (Italy).
Pairing: This Parmigiano-Reggiano has concentrated, almost explosive fruit and salt, some caramelised flavours, and plenty of umami. Here there are two good directions you can go in. One direction is the use of contrast—with the brightness of the lemon balancing the concentration of the cheese. The other direction is to use harmony, and here our Limoncello makes a good choice. The robust malt base and hoppy character meld with this cheese and the residual sweetness of the beer makes a good foil for the salt.
6. Gorgonzola Dolce DOP vs. ORA Brewing “TUTTI FRUTTI”
GORGONZOLA DOLCE dop – LA TOSI
Creamy, blue cheese, pasteurized cow’s milk (Piemonte)
An extremely soft, creamy and well balanced whipped blue cheese. Its velvety paste exudes the unmistakable flavour of fresh cream, and it has an exquisite blue cheese aftertaste. Maturing period: min. 2 months.
ORA Brewing – TUTTI FRUTTI (7.5%)
Fruited Kveik IPA (Tottenham)
This is a fruited IPA, fermented with Kveik yeasts and infused with 125kg of fruit puree (pineapple, apricot, mandarin, pink grapefruit, peach and lychee). The beer is dry-hopped with Idaho 7, Galaxy, Azacca and Mandarina Bavaria for the max result.
Pairing: Some blue cheeses are pretty challenging to pair because of the sharpness developed by the bluing moulds – often they are only paired with barley wine or imperial stout. Fortunately, the Gorgonzola Dolce La Tosi is full-bodied but milder, and can pair very successfully. This cheese combines a powerfully earthy aroma with a rich, buttery, salty paste, all wrapped up with nutty creaminess. Big IPAs are excellent here, particularly a robust West Coast variant, where plenty of residual sugar teams up with solid piney and grapefruit notes to wrap around the cheese. Although it may seem counterintuitive, Kveik yeasts often work very well with blue cheese also. This non-purified yeast contains multiple domesticated (not wild) strains of S. cerevisiae, and it’s an explosion of lemon, nuts, grain, and straw. All of these flavours are inter-playing fantastically with our La Tosi.
Are you interested to join us for another Craft beer & Italian Cheese Tasting?
Come and Enjoy a great tasting on craft beers and the finest regional cheeses, through a unique experience!
Date and time
Fri, 24 September 2021 /// 18:30 – 20:00 BST (Add to calendar)
ORA Brewing /// 16a Rosebery Industrial Park, London, N17 9SR (View Map)