Sunday, 28 August 2011
A one for the locals
Northumberland Coquetdale is by a distance my favourite cheese of the North East region. It's uncompromisingly earthy, full of texture and has a slight tangy fruity finish. Some call it strong, but cheese lovers seem to think of it as a middle weight.
For a year of so now I have been working on finding the perfect beer paring for this cheese but its strength in flavour and slight dry astringency has made it difficult to pair with many of the local session beers. But out of much trial and error and some success with Belgian Pale ales and strong English pale ales it seems Durham Brewery's Benedictus has proved itself as the ultimate match for this characterful local cheese.
According to the website Benedictus is a Barley wine, but it doesn't seem as heavy as many English Barley wines. Deliciously fruity, malt driven and with a nice drinkability it seems to marry brilliantly with the flavours of the cheese. Both show a similar strength of character and the rich malt sweetness of Benedictus seems to contrast any rough characteristics of the cheese. I have to admit this is by far my favourite beer and cheese combination of the year so far and probably the best local pairing ever. It's almost like the two were made to be together.