Go Irish with Beer - and Cheese
Pairings for your feasting this St. Patrick's Day.user rating
Drinks are a given when celebrating St. Patty’s Day, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat mediocre bar food. We asked four cheesemongers from some of the top cheese stores this side of the Atlantic to suggest their favorite Irish picks with the appropriate libations, from fruity wines to dark stout. Cheers to our panel of advisors: Tim Gaddis of Star Provisions in Atlanta, Deena Singleton of Murray’s Cheese in New York City, Ron Shalinsky at The Better Cheddar in Kansas City, Mo., and Tony Princiotta at The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills in Southern California. —Denise Shoukas
Drink of Choice: Brown Ale
Deena Singleton of Murray’s Cheese suggests grabbing a loaf of crusty bread with Murray’s Cave Aged Ardrahan ($24.99/lb.; murrayscheese.com). Rich, nutty flavors and oceanic undertones make this one of the most approachable washed-rind cheeses out there. The Burns family in Cork County crafts wheels from the pasteurized milk of cows grazing in the clovered fields of Ireland's coast and washes them with briny saltwater. Singleton notes that this cheese also pairs nicely with an off-dry, fruity white wine.
Drink of Choice: Irish Whiskey
Star Provisions’ Tim Gaddis recommends two cow’s milk cheeses that offer completely different taste experiences. Coolea ($34/lb.; call 404.365.0410 ext. 132 to order, or stjamescheese.com), an aged cow’s milk cheese from Macroom, Cork, is a Gouda-style cheese. “The butterscotch and caramel flavors in the cheese and the whiskey would be excellent,” Gaddis says. He also likes Gubbeen ($30/lb.; call 404.365.0410 ext. 132 to order, or vineandtable.com), a washed-rind cow’s milk cheese from Schull, also in Cork. The flavors are meaty and malty with a finish of fresh cut straw.
Drink of Choice: Dark Beer
Serve Cashel Blue (cheesestorebh.com; $30/lb.) with dark bread to match the dark beer, says Tony Princiotta of The Cheese Store of Beverley Hills. Made by Louis and Jane Grubb on their family farm in Tipperary, Ireland, Cashel Blue was developed in the 1980s and continues to be produced as it always was: on the farm using milk of the Grubb's herd of 110 Fresian cows. This cheese starts out firm and crumbly when young, and turns creamier as it ages. “Cashel Blue sometimes has the same blue mold on the outside as the inside, and we get asked if you can eat that,” Princiotta says. “The answer is yes.” Serve at close to room temperature, still cool but not cold.
Drink of Choice: Stout
What’s an Irish cheese plate without a Vintage Irish Cheddar (thetask.com; $21.99/lb.). Ron Shalinsky at The Better Cheddar suggests this variety for a frothy pint of Guinness or even a fruity red wine. This cheddar is matured for at least 12 months, which gives it a rounded flavor and smooth body.