A few weeks ago, I was invited to the excellent Teeling whiskey distillery in Dublin for a cheese, whiskey and beer pairing. Shane from Dot Brew provided the invite as he was looking after the beer that evening. Beer, whiskey and cheese, that's three of my four favourite things and en-route, I tweeted that if only there was going to be chocolate, I would be in heaven. Stuart Clark from Hot Press tweeted back that he would bring me a Cadbury fruit and nut bar and true to his word, he handed me one before I left!
We had an appetiser of a cracker with creamy goats cheese. I'm not a fan of goats cheese but this was pretty mild. The beer pairing (no whiskey) was the Dot Brew Session Rye Ale and it really brought out the pungent goatiness long after the cheese was gone. This wasn't a good thing for me personally but I got over myself and kind of enjoyed it.
Then we had three cheeses with a whiskey jelly on the side. Each cheese was paired with a whiskey though unfortunately the middle cheese lacked a beer to pair with. Now, I've never done a whiskey and food pairing and I'm not sure how well it works. I do enjoy whiskey with sweeter items like chocolate but I'm not sure how well it works with cheese. The beer on the other hand worked much better at enhancing the characteristics of the cheese or else cutting through the sharpness.
While I did take notes on the provided sheet, it went walkabout I'm afraid so I don't recall the name of the cheeses. From a beer perspective, it was great to try some dot brew beer. I haven't had much of it though I had a couple of bottles at home.
One of the beers provided was the barrel aged imperial stout. This beer is long sold out so Shane had to beg from people's personal stashes in order to provide everyone a tiny measure. It was aged in Teeling single malt barrels so it came last with the strongest of the cheeses and of course some Teeling single malt. It was delicious but I suspected I had a bottle at home and I was right, as well as the sour cherry apricot ale so I decided to hold off on writing about the night until I cracked open the bottles.
The Sour Cherry Apricot Ale is 4.5% beer and it's a similar idea to the Jack Cody's Curly Hole I wrote about the other day. It's pretty much like an Irish red but with lots of hops providing bitterness and some slight citrus and grassy notes. There was also some cherry providing a slightly tart nature. Not sure about apricot though, I couldn't pick anything of that nature out of the mix. I glanced at ratebeer out of curiosity. There's not enough ratings for a score yet but I noticed a few people complaining that it isn't sour? I think people are misreading the label. It's a beer with sour cherry and apricots. It's not a cherry and apricot sour. The beer is not supposed to be sour! Sour cherries are a type of cherry that aren't as sweet as regular sweet cherries.
A big thanks to Shane for the invite and to the Teeling team for being gracious hosts and a special thanks to Peter Conway O’Neill from Fallon and Byrne for his impressive knowledge of cheese.