Beer and cheese can make an ideal pair. Sipping a quality brew with the right cheese can elevate and complement the respective flavor profiles as any cheesemonger or brewer would tell you. But Beer IN cheese? Leave it to Sprout Creek Farms, Sixpoint Brewery and Whole Foods Market to create this perfect symbiosis in the ale-washed “Point of Origin” cheese.
Conceptualized by Chris Manca, Specialty Products Coordinator for Whole Foods Market's Northeast Region, "Point of Origin" is "grassy, with a whiff of malt that does not announce its presence too boldly," explains Manca, who also helped name the cheese "Point of Origin."
This cheese is not for the faint of heart. A raw cow’s milk cheese, its grassy and malty notes place it firmly in the “stinky” category. Each four-inch wheel wheel boasts a tacky rind with a dappled ivory to pink hue. The interior is much more uniform in color and the mild nutty flavor boasts a twinge of coffee, thanks to SIxpoint’s Diesel Ale. The flavor is much more mellow in comparison to its first pungent whiff.
Washed rind cheeses are the hippes of the cheese world. They may smell as if they haven’t bathed in quite some time, but in actuality, it is a long liquid brine that lends their unique aroma. In the case of the “Point of Origin,” the ale provides the bath for the 60-day aging process. According to the kitchn, “Washing in a brine or booze solution cultivates the growth of brevibacterium linens (or b-linens), bacteria unique to washed rinds, thereby resulting in less acidic cheese with a pronounced pungency. The bacteria itself is smelly, which explains, in short, why the cheese becomes so, as well”
What do you drink with "Point of Origin?"
According to Manca, he recommends pairing those creamy, stinky cheeses like Point of Origin with “bright, palate cleansing beers like hoppy IPAs and Pale Ales. Or something simple like a Saison." As for food, the keys again are best kept lively, allowing bright flavors to balance out the richness of this cheese. “Fresh fruits, particularly, berries would be nice with Point of Origin on a cheese board,” advises Manca.
This regional collaboration is now available exclusively in nearby Whole Foods Markets and the partners aim to launch a new ale-washed cheese at the start of each season.
Although we tend to shy away from product reviews on CTbites, this unique regional partnership is something as both consumers and local food lovers, we can get behind. Want to see more product reviews? Please let us know.