We’ve lived up the hill from Rogue’s San Francisco Public house for three years now. We have occasional issues with their service and their strangely warm taps. However, we have always wanted to go to one of their cheese and beer tastings, put on by Sheana Davis of the Epicurean Connection, and we finally got to go a few weeks ago.
There was a pint of Rogue’s American Amber and bowls of Delice de la Vallee, a fresh triple cream that Sheana makes herself, waiting for us at the door. I love that. I love when places bother to plan how customers will feel. They might have started on time, they might have started late–I have no idea. I had beer and food and was happy hanging out with Joe while we waiting for things to get rolling.
My favorite pairing of the night was actually the Morimoto Soba Ale with Laura Chenel’s Melody–a pasteurized goat’s milk brie-style. Interestingly, although Laura Chenel used to be a local company, it has now been sold and this particular cheese is made in France. No matter. It has a lovely swampy rind that you often find on ash-ripened goat cheese. The yeasty sour citrus notes in the beer balance any bitterness that might be in the rind. Lovely.
A close second was Dead Guy Ale with Vella’s Mezzo Secco–a medium jack rubbed with cocoa and pepper. It’s a cheese I have all the time, but it made me appreciate it all over again.
Here’s the sort of strange part, however. As a cheesemonger and beer geek, I am often asked to make pairings. Sometimes I get it spot on, and sometimes it doesn’t quite work. But I tell people not to get too worked up about pairings–I mean, it’s beer and cheese (or wine and cheese, or beer and chocolate or whatever). Get good cheese and good beer and it will probably be fine.
Somehow, they managed to come up with two separate pairings that I thought were simply awful. First, Dirtoir Black Lager with Marin French’s breakfast cheese. The beer was strong and bitter–it smelled like dirt and coffee. Separately they were good, and I guess I get why someone might want to pair a coffee-ish beer with a breakfast cheese, but the cheese was so mild that you couldn’t taste it at all. The other one that didn’t work was Kell’s Irish lager with Socola Artisan Chocolates. The Kell’s was kind of a terrible beer overall–dry, light, nearly tasteless. I have no clue what the thought was behind this pairing. The chocolates, however, were fantastic.
We had a great time though. I loved the Imperial Stout we finished with, and the fact that they sent us all home with a bottle of Chatoe Rogue single malt (brewed with hops from the Rogue hopyard). I wonder what cheese I should bring home to pair it with?