Monday, February 11, 2008

Tasting Notes - '96 Kriek and Goat Cheese

Ok people, tasting time.

Last night i enjoyed a Cantillon Kriek bottled in 1996 along with Drunken Goat and Humboldt Fog cheeses.

Cantillon Kriek '96
Brasserie Cantillon- Brussels, Belgium
750 mL in a Lindeman's flute

Drunken Goat / Murcia Al Vino
Wine Soaked Goat Cheese aged 30-45 days after wine - Murcia, Spain

Humboldt Fog
Surface ripened soft Goat Cheese. Cypress Grove Chevre - Arcata, CA

Everything after the pour was a complete surprise to me. I expected a much deeper color to the Lambic, maybe something murky and crimson, but no, this was a clear beer that almost had more of an amber hue than the red i was waiting for. Slight head in the flute that was gobbling itself up as the bubbles met the oxygen after rushing to the surface.

The head settled and fell away pretty quickly despite the ton of bubbles rushing up from the bottom of my glass. The aroma had that trickyness spontaneous beers seem to have for me. Unless there is a ton of funk in the nose it's really hard to tell if you're going to get something sweet or something acidic and tart.

Now with this guy bottled in '96 that means the cherries went into it in 1995 at the earliest, right? I wasn't expecting these cherries to hang for 13 years. At first it appeared as though they didn't. More gueze like than anything else, i was relishing this beer despite no real cherry presence.

As it warmed though and i sipped a bit as i had my first bite of Drunken Goat for the night everything changed. The creaminess from the cheese and the acidity and complex flavor of the beer made the cherries pop. WOW.

What a match, i am definitely going to try the Spanish goat on some more lambics and see how it does. A really solid cheese, for me this one is great by itself but it really stands well in a pairing, it has a great flavor...i mean the goats snack on wild herbs as they graze, so there's gotta be a little magic in there somewhere.

Where the wine soaked cheese really worked was in its subtlety, a lambic in general is going to take the driver's seat, so when it came time to pair up with Humboldt Fog there wasn't quite enough room for everyone.

Humboldt Fog is an amazing cheese. It's gooey, runny outer edge is barely contained by a cavey looking rind while a stark white softness is split by vegetal ash straight through the center. It's a beautiful cheese, it takes command when it's in your mouth and does a bang up job.

Paired with the acidity and faint cherry taste coming through the now warmed Kriek i was just having trouble putting the two together. Beer works harmoniously with food in a great way, but i think i was smashing together too many decibels for my own good.

Maybe it's just that i absolutely love Humboldt Fog and didn't want anything getting in it's way. I dunno.

Drunken Goat will definitely be a standard in my pairing arsenal while Humboldt Fog will be a cheese i use to impress (or hoard for myself).

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