It’s been a while since we’ve had a chance to update the blog, what with launching our new cheese, attending christmas fairs, getting the free range turkeys ready and taking just a little time off to enjoy the festivities… So let’s skip back in time to the 12th of Decemeber (which seems like an age ago now), when we were very excited to launch our new Brewer’s Gold Organic Cheese at the Taphouse Bar & Kitchen in Ranelagh.
For those of you who haven’t yet been introduced to our newest cheese product, Brewer’s Gold, it is the first in what will hopefully be a long line of collaborations with other local artisan producers including The Little Milk Company – who are a co-op of Irish Organic Farmers, and Carlow Brewing – producers of Irish Craft ales & stouts including the popular O’Hara’s range.
The idea for Brewer’s Gold came when we decided to jointly host a local beer & cheese pairing evening, with our Helen Finnegan, and Carlow Brewing’s Seamus O’Hara lending their expert opinions to proceedings. After this first event a sound working relationship was formed, and Helen was inspired to come up with a recipe for a new semi-soft cheese, the rind of which would be washed with craft ale (instead of the organic wine that we usually use). Seamus was happy to supply us with some of his Curim Gold and O’Hara’s Irish Pale Ale straight from the brewery and in it’s purest form, which we then added to a saltwater mix and used to wash the individual cheeses by hand every 2-3 days.
Around the same time we also began working with Conor Mulhall from the Little Milk Company, who was able to supply us with organic cow’s milk, which we had never used for production before. This milk, coming straight from the farm has an altogether creamier, richer taste, and is less pale in colour in comparison to standard cow’s milk. It also tends to have a very subtle grassy aroma, which can be picked up on in the cheeses we produce with it.
The resulting combination of these two new ingredients has made for a completely unique cheese, when compared to our other products. The texture is firm but not hard, creamy and slightly sweet, with hoppy notes which are not overpowering. Also the rind is a bright amber colour which makes the wheel and it’s wedges very aesthecially appealing for presenting on cheeseboards and slates.
When deciding on a venue for the launch, Conor put us in touch with the newly opened Taphouse Bar & Kitchen in Ranelagh. Formerly Russells of Ranelagh, the bar has been completely renovated with a modern retro feel, which compliments both the original building and their core product – craft brews. When it comes to serving craft beer, these guys really are the experts. Whether it’s knowing what temperature it should be served at, what glass, or what would best suit your palate, the friendly Taphouse team led by Sinead & Conor are extremely knowledgeable on the subject.
Since originally starting development of Brewer’s Gold (or beercheese as we’d been referring to it), we’d added some new craft brews to the mix, including Copper Coast, a red ale from another local producer, Dungarvan Brewing – so by the time the launch came round we had two flavours of the cheese ripened and ready for tasting. On the night we paired Brewer’s Gold made with O’Hara’s IPA, with their Winter Star, a spicy amber ale, which puts me in mind of a big open fire on a cold winter’s night, with very subtle warming christmas spice flavours coming through. Our Brewer’s Gold made with Dungarvan’s Copper Coast, we paired with Copper Coast itself – a refreshing red ale which pairs extremely well with the cheese, which has a much softer brie-like texture compared to it’s O’Hara’s counterpart.
There was a great turnout on the night (many thanks to Seamus O’Hara & Claire Dalton for supplying drinks on the evenng, as well as Aoife Carrigy, Andrew from Beoirfinder, Julie from Carlow Brewing, Stephen from Checkout Magazine and Conor & Shane from The Little Milk Company for all your support on the night) and the room was split on which cheese they preferred – however it was all devoured and we’re taking the few remaining crumbs to stand for a resounding thumbs up for what was a lovely evening and a very delicious cheese!