Beer and Cheese for Hot Summer Days
Written by Sterling Carlton, DFC Owner and former Beer, Wine & Spirits Specialist
Ensuring the health of the environment, as well as that of the goats, is a priority for Cypress Grove and it shows in the decisions they make. Cypress Grove works with specialist small ruminant nutritionists to ensure the goats have the best balance in their diets. The goats are allowed ample space to roam and graze outside with freedom to move indoors as well. Cypress Grove has removed surrounding non-native and invasive vegetation in addition to leaving significant space on the parcel for a riparian easement that helps with flood mitigation, property maintenance, and supports more biodiversity.
Cypress Grove’s story starts in the 1970s when Mary Keehn chased down and wrangled two goats her neighbor graciously gave her. Eventually the herd grew and grew and Mary decided cheese was what would be done with the milk these goats provided. In 1983 Keehn journeyed to the center of the cheese world: France. In France she was able to try so many classic cheeses at the domaines that birthed them and learned from the masters of Brie, Camembert, and more. Mary returned inspired, opening Cypress Grove that same year. It was on the return flight that her inspiration manifested in a dream and the idea for Humboldt Fog was born. Perhaps in homage to the Morbier cheese it so closely resembles (right down to the gray-blue vegetable ash line in the middle), Humboldt Fog is made from goat’s milk as opposed to the classic’s cow’s milk.
Technically a goat milk Brie, Humboldt Fog is often mistaken for a blue cheese thanks to that grayish-blue line running down the middle of it. In truth it is simply vegetable ash that both represents the Humboldt County fog line and perhaps a bit of a play on the Morbier cow cheeses which hail from the Doubs and Jura in France. Aromas of yogurt and lactic dairy notes as well as a faint mold dominate the bouquet, whilst sour cream and citrus present on the flaky crumbly textured cheese that is nestled under the cream line next to the rind. The bloomy rind is more mild than some other strains leading to a bright, salty, slightly lemony cheese that is delightful for summer snacking boards.
To pair with this masterpiece of a cheese we have, on recommendation from Center Store Specialist Charlie, the Brasserie Dupont Foret Organic Saison. With history dating back to 1759 when it was a simple farm, Brasserie Dupont became a farm-brewery in 1844 specializing in saisons. Saison, meaning seasons, is so called because the farmers produced these beers in the winter for consumption in the fields on hot summer days. The farm-brewery operation eventually came into possession of one Louis Dupont who tweaked the recipe for a saison and thus the Saison Dupont was born.
Foret is an organic offering from Dupont and boasts the claim of being Belgium’s first 100% certified organic beer. The bouquet offers orange peel, coriander, lemon zest, grains of paradise, and some barnyard funk typical in many saisons. Citrusy palette with full flavor, high acid and a nice funky spice on the end make this a fantastic pairing with Humboldt Fog. The salt and acid of the cheese play off the acid and spice in the beer and the carbonation helps cut through and refresh the palate after a big bite of Fog. All in all this pairing is perfect and not too heavy for a hot day of relaxation or a nice easy picnic. Add some cured meats, cornichons, and perhaps some pickled veggies and you have a simple charcuterie board with a beer to pair with a slow, hot day.
Find Humboldt Fog at the Cheese Counter for $29.99/lb
Find Brasserie Dupont Foret Organic Saison in the Beer Cooler for $12.99/750 mL plus tax.