Some of us are avid football fans that have been waiting for Superbowl Sunday since October. Some of us want to see what kind of hip shaking and hair flipping Beyonce has in store (so much!). And some of us just like watching men run around in tight white pants. Regardless of why you’ll be tuning into the Superbowl this Sunday, we hope your game-time watch party is replete with a few good beers and plenty of indulgent snacks.
Here at Righteous Cheese we believe a little healthy competition is always appropriate, so we’ve created our own little CheeseBowl for the week leading up to the big game. CA vs. MD both have a solid lineup of cheese and beer producers, so we’re fortunate to have a myriad of options in selecting several to pit head to head. Imagine if the Falcons or Texans had made it through! Representing the Baltimore Ravens is a powerful combo of cheese and beer, a mighty and tasty offense that strikes hard with soft goat cheese and a citrus-y saison. Representing the San Francisco 49ers, we’ve got a big, bold defensive lineup, a strong and hearty pairing of cheese and beer that has the flavor as well as history to knock your socks off. So read on about our offerings, and vote for your favorites today!
Monocacy Ash from Cherry Glen Goat Cheese – Boyds, Maryland
Situated a mere hour’s drive north from Washington DC, Cherry Glen Farm carefully breeds and raises four species of goats, whose milks play an integral part in the farm’s prized cheeses. Founder Diane Kirsch, who sadly passed away early in 2012, was a retired French teacher who often traveled to France, bringing her love of quality cheese and cheesemaking to the creamery. Monocacy Ash, named after neighboring Monocacy River, is a lovely pocket-sized treat of a goat cheese. Cutting it open, you will find a stark and deep blue line of vegetable ash running through the center of the cheese. The ash is in fact for decorative purposes, however the thin coating along the outer rind aides in developing the flavors and rind of the cheese. Monocacy Ash is bright, fresh, and grassy. It is luscious and creamy, with a balanced tang of goat cheese and creamy ripeness from the bloomy rind.
Cellar Door from Stillwater Ales – Baltimore, MD
Stillwater Ales join the increasing popularity of brewing gone rogue. In addition to the innovative names and tattoo-reminiscent labels Stillwater claims for its image, owner and brewmaster Brian Strumke is known for his gypsy brewing techniques – traveling the world, learning about brews, and most importantly, borrowing his friends’ facilities to brew his famous beers. Cellar Door is a brew infused with white sage, which adds an herbal quality to the already bright and floral saison. Saison is a style of brew originating in Belgium, when the men who worked on farms gathered to brew beer in the winters when fieldwork was minimal if at all possible. These brews were aged in cool, dark cellars, kept at appropriate temperatures thanks to the winter weather. During the spring and summers, as days grew longer and warmer, the beers were drank after a long hard day in the fields The Stillwater Cellar Door, a peppery and strong teammate and pairing for the Monocacy Ash
Vella Dry Jack from Vella Cheese Co. – Sonoma, CA
Italian immigrants settled in droves in San Francisco in the early 1900s, and brought along their affinity for cheeses and cured meats. When WWI hit, and many of the imports of aged Italian cheeses became hard (if at all possible) to acquire, so immigrants took matters into their own hands and set off to age the already-ample supply of Monterey Jack, a cheese whose namesake claimed itself to the region. What resulted was a surge in aged, or dry jack – a cheese reminiscent of hard italian cheeses like parmesan and pecorino. Today, Vella Cheese Co. is one of three remaining creameries still producing dry jack – one of the original sixty that were once operating throughout the Northern California Bay. The Vella Cheese Company fights to produce their wheels in the exact manner and process they’ve been using for the last 100 years (not exactly always satisfying for the FDA). Rubbed in oil, cocoa powder, and pepper (the oil to preserve the cheese, the cocoa powder to keep the oil suspended for the cheese to breathe, the pepper to stave away bugs before refrigeration), the youngest Vella Dry Jack ages for eight months year. Intensely piquant and savory flavors are a result of this aged cheese, which can be enjoyed both on a cheese board or over a myriad of vegetables and dishes as an excellent substitute for parmesan.
Smoked Porter from Stone Brewery – San Marcos, CA
Just north of San Diego in a little town of San Marcos, Stone Brewery was founded in 1996 and is the largest craft brewer in California – although an increasing interest in craft brewing in Los Angeles is slowly opening the field for competition. Most of their beers are characteristic of west-coast craft brews; that is to say, most beers have a traditionally ‘hoppy’ flavor. This beer is no different, thanks to the addition of Columbus & Mt. Hood hops. Stone smoked porter is a rich, dark and delicious porter with chocolate and coffee overtones accented by just a hint of subtle smokiness due to the addition of peat smoked malt. Stone Smoked Porter, a mighty bold sidekick that stands up to Vella Dry Jack. Each pairing can be tasted for $7 at our bar this week between Thursday and Sunday. Vote at the bar, or simply click on over to our Facebook poll to vote. Let’s see if your righteous votes will pick the winner!! Also for a limited time, pick up our homemade Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese Dip from the shop. It’s the perfect pairing with some chips and veggies and goes really well with Beyonce.