There are just a handful of days left in 2013. Where’d it all go? And how much time did we spend swilling in bars — not a god damn ‘nuff. We recently took a trip down memory lane, thinking of the best beer and cheeses we had this year. We are not immune to listacles. What follows are the best and weirdest pairings of the year.
Beer: Surette, Crooked Stave Brewing. Alex swooned over this Saison on a recent trip to the Centennial State. It’s a farmhouse sour brewed with barley, wheat, oats, rye and spelt, Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus. It’s wood aged and limited release. Unlike most pucker Saisons, the fruit flavors bright lemon and mandarin — way winter.
Cheese: Salers is a super esoteric giant from the mountains of Auvergne, France. The production is so fuckin’ analog that it makes the FDA shit blood out their eyes. Cheese mules technically smuggle it in – well that’s not true, they call it something else that the government thinks is benign… so they’re pretty much straight up smuggling it. It’s rich, fermenty, smooth, immediately melting across the palate.
Soundtrack: Nine Inch Nails, “Copy of A” (Hesitation Marks, 2013). Themes of imitation and re-creation are rife on this slightly acerbic album, making it a perfect for an aged sour beer that’s an old fashioned style.
Beer: Naughty Sauce, Noble Ale Works. Easily the weirdest beer we’ve ever paired with cheese mainly because it tastes like drinking a malted, thanks to the milk sugar it’s brewed with. It’s technically a stout but it’s golden. It’s super creamy and has 3 pounds of Guatemalan coffee beans in each barrel. It’s confusing and playful — it’s a stout but it’s sweet and light. It’s coffee but it’s got no color.
Cheese: Couronne de Touraine. Coffee and donuts! Feast your eyes on the Goat Doughnut, well its really called Couronne de Touraine, but we call it the goat doughnut. Sweet, crisp, dusted with vegetable ash. Love us some stouts with Chevre. Also, note the scrotal appearance of the rind.
Soundtrack: The Knife, “Full of Fire” (Shaking the Habitual, 2013). Hands down the most demonic EDM of the year, complete with super-sexual, gender-bendy vocals and gender dysphoria themes.
Beer: Gift of the Magi, Lost Abbey. “Christmas in a glass.” Word has it, that this golden ale is brewed with the bark of Frankincense, and trace amounts of myrrh. We’re skeptical, but we love this seasonal. It’s a 10% holiday spiced version of their hoppy bier de garde. And the 2013 batch is particularly good n’ balanced.
Cheese: Puits D’astier. This is another doughnut shaped cheese actually, but this one is a big fucker from South Central France made of sheep’s milk. It grows a neon-green micro-floral coat and tastes like potatoes. Pretty fucking sick.
Soundtrack: Omar Souleyman: “Wenu Wenu” (Wenu, Wenu, 2013). Picture a Quentin Tarantino version of the Three Kings, and this would be your soundtrack. On his new album, the Levant’s favorite wedding singer gets super neon and synthy.
Beer: Green Bullet, Green Flash. Named after a New Zealand hop varietal, this is another 10% monster. First made in 2011, this is the first year it’s been available as a seasonal. Better balanced than most Triple IPAs.
Cheese: Kinsman Ridge. This is a raw milk French country tomme from NEW HAMPSHIRE, made by a swell pair of old school dairy farmers who’s transition to cheese literally saved the farm. Earthy, funky, totally rad. Alex has been waiting 2 years for this cheese.
Soundtrack: The National, “Pink Rabbits” (Trouble Will Find Me, 2013). Best heavy drinking anthem of the year.
Beer: Jubilee, Eagle Rock Brewery. The whole thing about Jubilee is that it’s gingerbread spices. But this year they took a gamble and decided to omit cloves because fuck it. Everyone uses too much clove. The result is a really subtle winter warmer, where hints of all spice and ginger get to shine.
Cheese: Rogue River Blue. It’s not new this year, but it totally rules. Raw cow’s milk from summer grazing, aged out wrapped in grape (petite Syrah) leaves that have been macerated in clear creek pear brandy. This is a goddamn fireside chat.
Soundtrack: Glass Candy, “Warm in the Winter” (After Dark 2, 2013). This dance hit is Exhibit A in the argument for all of Portland just giving up already and moving to Southern California.