Quarantined Dad-hood in All Its Glory
If you’re like us, much of fathering has taken on new dimension in the past few months. Your kids may or may not have become acquainted with your coworkers on a first-name basis. Your quiet commute might be replaced by a flight of stairs to the basement, and perhaps you’ve become a surprise expert on finding the volume of geometric prisms in your fifth graders’ distance learning classes. In the midst of it all, there are other rewards – you’re able to be present and notice moments in their lives you never did before, and they’ve learned to come to you when they want attention or a hug.
Let’s be honest – it’s been a crazy mixed bag of quarantined parenting, whether you’re doing it alone or with a partner. So, we’re here to say, “Happy hour starts at 4:30 today.”
In homage to the cherished moment when we end a day of zoom calls, and reconnect with our kids, our friends, or ourselves, we give you some of our favorite end-of-day beer and cheese pairings. Hey, it’s what we love, and we hope you love it, too.
Vermont’s Dynamic Duo: Beer & Cheese
Part of the draw of this stunning state for many of us is the combination of access to great craft beers and a smattering of farms that produce some of the world’s best cheeses. We called up our friends from a few towns over, Lawson’s Finest Liquids, and chatted beer and cheese pairings over – of course – some beer and cheese.
The Basic Rules
Graham, one of the bartenders at the beautiful Lawson’s taproom, shared his overarching beer and cheese pairing philosophy: “Any beer you like will pair with any cheese you like –?eat and drink what you like. But there are some flavor profiles that cooperate well.”
In general, pair like flavors and intensity for success. For example, cheese with fruity notes will pair will with beer with fruity undertones. A funky washed rind cheese will go well with a funky sour beer. Clean and crisp goes together, as does heavy and dark.
But a fun twist is to mix it up and pair odd couples. Sometimes you’ll find certain notes in a beer that complement the cheese through contrast – they bounce off one another and create an unexpected experience that’s kind of fun. Think about the richness of a Flemish red ale paired with a light brie, where they offset each other in an interesting way.
In the end, it’s all about preference. Whether you opt for like flavors or contrast, there is no right way, unless you’re not having fun with it.
A Few of our Favorites
Honestly, this is the cutest pairing of them all, and if you love the little button-shaped Bijou, you know what we’re talking about. This approachable goat cheese crottin that has a lovely complexity, which pairs oh-so-well with a well-rounded beer like the Scrag Mountain Pils that is lightly hoppy, malty, and has good body.
Yes, we recognize we’ve paired our flagship hand-ladled ash-ripened Bonne Bouche with a big bold beer. But hear us out. “Bonne Bouche” is French for “Good Mouthful” – and the Fayston Maple’s black malts and hefty dose of Vermont maple syrup make it a pairing to contend with. You want a beer you can still taste after your cheese, and vice versa. Try it – let us know if you think we’ve gone too far.
When you’re opting for the mild, clean flavor of our fresh goat cheese logs, you’ll want to be careful to not overpower the cheese. To put it in context, if you were choosing wine you’d go for a crisp white or champagne. When we get into beer, we’re looking for something light and crisp, maybe even a little fruity or spicy beer. We love Lawson’s App Gap Saison with all its slightly spicy character and effervescent, dry finish. Plus, this beer pays homage to one of our favorite mountain roads in our beautiful state.
This domed beauty has a wrinkly rind and a bright, fresh cheese taste, creating an intriguing contrast between the strong exterior and the delicate interior. To take the contrast even further, we’re heading down the road to Burlington, Vermont’s Zero Gravity to pick up the rare find of Funkytown, wild-fermented and conditioned on cherries. It’s nice and funky, not super tart, and the sweet cherry finish is an absolute dream with a wedge of Coupole.
This is the homecoming king and queen of cheese and beer. Cremont’s mixed milk aged double-cream decadence desires a partner that can stand up to it in flavor, but not overpower it. Don’t go too heavy on the IPA – in fact, Lawson’s just released an even more approachable Little Sip, which we highly recommend with the smooth and luxurious Cremont.
This fondue for two is truly unique – hand-shaped and aged for eleven days, it’s an ideal carrier for your favorite seeded crackers or crostini. It’s only natural to pair it with a very flavorful IPA like Triple Sunshine, that explodes with floral and herbal flavors, and drinks incredibly smooth considering its 10.5% ABV. A nice strong cold beer with a hot cheese? Let’s go.
Whatever your pairing preference, we’re here to remind you that the weekend starts at 4:30, and beer and cheese is the best reward for all you, dad.