We invite craft cheese and craft beer fans alike to check out the 8th Annual Oregon Cheese Festival this Saturday, March 17th from 10am-5pm at Rogue Creamery in Central Point, OR. Put on by the Oregon Cheese Guild, this delicious event will highlight cheese makers from across the state, and present classic wine and beer pairings to complete the tasting experience.
Like independently brewed craft beer, craft cheese is worth seeking out, and Oregon has some of the best. The multiple-award-winning Rogue Creamery has long been known for their Rogue River Blue, which has won national awards and international recognition. They’re also committed to sustainable farming and business to the core, which makes their products even better, we think.
We like to feature Goat Cheese from Mama Terra Micro Creamery and Pholia Farms, both from Southern Oregon, on our restaurant’s specials board in pizzas and grilled sandwiches. Our chef has even decided to join the fun, bringing cheese making in our own kitchen with crafting Queso Fresco.
Standing Stone is sending along a few ales to the festival to savor through a free class, “Tasty Beers and Fabulous Cheeses: Classic Flavor Partners,” lead by Ginger Johnson of Women Enjoying Beer. Regional wineries and other Southern Oregon breweries are lined up to participate, too, so you won’t want to miss out on this opportunity to try local, artisanal fare from some the best our state has to offer.
Several of beer’s key characteristics make it an excellent choice to pair with tasty, crafted cheeses. Hop bitterness, roasted flavors, and carbonation are all characteristics that can enhance a pairing experience. Bitterness and carbonation are helpful to cleanse and refresh the palate between savory bites of rich cheese. Toastiness that comes from roasted malt is also a classic beer attribute that complements cheese’s velvety mouthfeel (think grilled cheese sandwiches on toasted bread…mmm). As with other food and beer pairings, intensities are important to match, too. Heavier, stronger cheeses pair best with full-bodied, robust beers, and lighter flavors and mouthfeel should be matched up as well.
Inspired by the Cheese Festival’s pairing suggestions, we came up with a few yummy cheese and beer coupling ideas of our own, featuring our own Standing Stone brews and cheese varieties we typically feature on our menu and specials board.
Hefewiezen – Fresh Mozzarella
Oatmeal Stout – Sharp Cheddar
I Love Oregon Ale – Queso Fresco
Amber Ale – Chevre (Goat Cheese)
Dive in to these tasty partnerships at our restaurant or at home, with beer to go. And you’re sure to get more ideas at the Cheese Festival this Saturday. Savor the great craft beer and craft cheeses of our region, and invite others to do the same! Getting friends together over cheese and beer is our idea of a great weekend.