Saint Sylvestre 3 Monts is pretty old school Biere de Garde style beer hailing from the French Flanders. Beers like this are so simple and rustic I love them to pieces, and you could probably never tell this was 8.5% tasting it blind. It's balanced, earthy, herbal, grainy and brilliantly balanced. My old uni mate Ed told me about this beer once. He described his state of mellowness as he kicked back smiling while his brain cells slowly fizzled away. So I was intrigued.
The obvious first choice cheese for this one was the only stinky washed rind French cheese available at the time. Munster. The other two cheeses on the board were Cashel Blue, chosen for its soft texture and herbal like flavours, and Berwick Edge (kind of like Northumberland’s answer to Gruyere or aged Gouda). Cashel seemed to sit with the beer OK, lots of herbal peppery notes going on, but no fireworks. Whereas Berwick Edge didn't seem to go at all, like it didn't want anything to do with this French beer.
With Munster however, a strikingly mellow yet fascinatingly awesome set of harmonies are created. The cheese smells a bit like sweaty socks (which is why my wife wouldn't go near the stuff), and on the palate is creamy, earthy, funky and mellow (is how I would best describe it). The beer seems to possess that similar mellow, earthy, savoury complexity but in liquid form. So undeniably drinkable at 8.5%. The pairing was excellent, but according to Mr Garrett this kind of beer is also great with even more pungent, stinky French cheeses such as Liverot (that's about as stinky as they get) so will leave this open for future experimentation.