For those of you who think that wine is the ultimate beverage to pair with cheese, think again.
I’m not hating on wine. I LOVE wine, but beer has an equally deserving place at the side of your favorite cheeses.
Cheese for me is heaven. It satisfies my love for everything savory. I would seriously take a big hunk of cheese over dessert any day. Weird, I know. I recently read Cheese & Beer by Janet Fletcher – the perfect intro level book for beer and cheese pairing, which inspired me to write this post. If you’re really interested in the topic, I would highly recommend it – great pictures and fantastic, straight forward advice.
Wow you guys. It has been WAY too long since we’ve chatted, but I can explain! Last week I took my Cicerone exam, which I was studying for literally every night. As you can imagine this has sucked up nearly all of my free time for the past couple months. The good news is I am feeling pretty confident and excited about my prospects. In approximately 3-6 weeks I should know whether I am a certified Cicerone. Commence incessant email checking . . .
In addition to all this Cicerone business, I have been traveling a lot – both for work and for pleasure. In fact I just got back from a trip to Boston, my hometown, to meet my adorable new baby nephew and celebrate with my best friend at her wedding.
Now that I’m back in Cincinnati and real life (major whomp whomp), I’ve been feeling rather homesick. So, I cracked a beer and made up a big batch of one of my all time favorite family appetizers. It’s called Jezebel, and I have no idea why, but honestly it doesn’t really matter.
My Aunty Karen is the Jezebel maker in our family. She was given the recipe by a friend years and years ago, and thank heaven above for that. I can’t remember life before Jezebel and I don’t want to imagine life without it. To me, this dip tastes like every holiday slash happy family event combined into one delicious bite.
In college I started getting really into cooking. Naturally, I asked for the famous Jezebel recipe so I could make it for all of my friends. When I saw the ingredient list for the first time after eating it for all those years, I was utterly baffled. This can’t possibly be right, I remember thinking. But, I followed the instructions and low and behold, glorious golden Jezebel emerged.
I was recently approached by Dan Higgins, a friend and excellent local chef, to host a beer pairing dinner. I figured it was a great opportunity to put into practice all of the beer pairing studying I did for the Certified Cicerone® exam. Plus, it’s hard to say no to someone who says, “how about I come to your house and make a six course dinner and you pair beers with it.”
Before I start, I have to apologize in advance for the hunger and thirst that this article will cause you. It was probably one of, if not THE, best meals I’ve ever eaten. Hopefully it will help you plan the best meal of your life too.
Early this week I was lucky to be invited to a free blogger preview dinner at the Red Roost Tavern, the new farm-to-table restaurant at the Downtown Hyatt. With little information about the dinner I was surprised and excited to see that every meal was paired with a local beer!
I had never been to the Hyatt until this dinner, but have heard that over the past year it has made a pretty astonishing turn around. Overall, the restaurant is very welcoming and doesn’t feel too much like your typical hotel restaurant. The bar is the centerpiece of the space with an interesting mix of modern linear decor mixed with rustic reclaimed wood. There are 6 – 8 local beers on tap (including Sam Adams, which you may or may not know is brewed mainly in Cincinnati’s OTR neighborhood just steps from Findlay Market) and a smattering of the usual suspects like Bud Light and Guinness. They have a pretty good selection of beers, craft and otherwise, in bottle as well.
Since I’ve been studying up for cicerone certification, I took the opportunity to assess the quality of the beer and food pairings at the dinner.