During Seattle Beer Week, Naked City Taphouse and Brewery did a Tale of Two Continents beer dinner. One of our favorite pairings was fromage blanc on toast with raspberries and proscuitto served with Pinkus Alt. I loved the simplicity of the pairing and started to think how I could use this pairing for my Wine and Cheese final at the Northwest Wine Academy. Yes, you read that correctly, I wanted to pair a beer with cheese at my wine and cheese class. Chef Lenny Rede appreciates the beauty of beer and cheese and snuck in some beer to the wine pairing class. I had his approval, I just needed to find the right Washington beer.
I started out by making my own fresh fromage blanc cheese, you can get the recipe and tips from my food blog. A quick trip to the Woodinville Warehouse district and I discovered two possibilities to appease the winos in class: Davenport Cellars Snowflake, White Bordeaux Blend and Des Voigne Cellars Menina Flor Viognier-Rousanne blend. The Beer Authority was my neighborhood solution for beer. Being a scientist by training, I picked up Pinkus Alt, Silver City Brewery Hefeweizen and Dick’s Brewing Silk Lady Golden Belgium.
Well stocked with wine, beer and cheese, it was time to head over to the “laboratory” where Nancy and I subjected our test subjects to a grueling evening of drinking and feasting. Nancy discusses her pairings on her post at DeVine Table.
I created an appetizer of fromage blanc on toast topped with proscuitto and raspberries. We started off with the beer. Pinkus Alt still worked but paled in comparison to the Silver City Hefeweizen. The Hefeweizen, with its light vanilla, clove and citrus flavors complemented the tart cheese, the sweet berries and the salty proscuitto. The Silk Lady from Dicks, although advertised as lightly hopped, had too much hop bitterness for this pairing. It is tasty but not with this appetizer.
The wine was a more difficult decision, both wines showed off different aspects of the food. The off dry Menina Flor was delicious, the Viognier really enhanced the raspberry and proscuitto flavors. But it was the Snowflake that went best with the brightness of the Fromage blanc. We were split 50-50 over which wine went best with this appetizer. Since cheese is the star in this class, and the wine makers, Jeff and Sheila Jirka, were going to be in class, I went with the Snowflake.
So, who won the smack down? In class, wine students and Chef instructor Lenny Rede were blown away by the delicious Silver City Brewing Hefeweizer. Many who took their tastes reluctantly, were smiling after the first sip of the Hefeweizen. As a whole, the group was split, some declared the Hefeweizen the winner while others declared the Snowflake as being the better pairing beverage.
What do you think?