This week is Midwest Cheese week. Let's celebrate all that is great about living so close to Wisconsin. To celebrate the annually anticipated arrival of Rush Creek Reserve, this week's pairing features Uplands' other fantastic product: Pleasant Ridge Reserve.
Name: Pleasant Ridge Reserve
Producer: Uplands Cheese Co.
Cheesemaker: Andy Hatch
Region: Dodgeville, WI
Milk: Raw Cow (genetic mix of 9 different breeds)
Affinage: 13 months
This cheese was first introduced in 2000 and is modeled after the French cheese Beaufort. This cheese holds the distinction of having been named Best in Show from the American Cheese Society three times: 2001, 2005, and 2010. At Pastoral, we are lucky to have a close relationship with Uplands Cheese Company which allows us to hand select the batch of Pleasant Ridge Reserve that we carry in our store. The batch that we selected back in June ended up winning best in class at this year's ACS competition.
The last of those wheels currently reside at Pastoral. After this week we'll be moving on to batch 127 with a make date of September 19, 2011. Because the cows would have been grazing on two very distinct sections of pasture. There is no better way to illustrate how a varied diet for the cows translates into separate and distinct flavor profiles in the cheese than to taste some of the cheese we have currently and then some of the new wheels once they are put into the case.
Pleasant Ridge Reserve is made from raw milk and is made seasonally, generally May through October, when the cows are grazing 100% of the time on pasture. The folks at Uplands are so passionate and fanatical about the quality of their milk that they won't make cheese if the pastures are unhealthy. We saw a prime example of this when they ceased production this year for several weeks due to the drought (ie. terrible pasture conditions). Once the milk has set, the curds are cut, heated and stirred until they are about the size of a tapioca pearl. Once the whey is drained, the curds are pressed and cut again into larger blocks. These blocks fill the forms that will ultimately give PRR its shape. Depending on pasture conditions (and therefore milk yield), 72 or 78 wheels are made each day during peak production.
Once the newly formed cheeses are moved into the ripening rooms, they are washed with a brine solution to promote the growth of B. Linens. This gives the cheese that distinctive color and aroma and is the same bacterium that colonizes Taleggio, Grayson, Hooligan, etc.
Producer: Anchor Brewing Co
Bottle: Brekle's Brown
Style: American Brown Ale
ABV: 6% ABV
Take your hop off and enjoy this malty brew perfect for the season. At the behest of David Buchanan, we are serving up this great brown ale for our pairing of the week this week. Named after Gotlieb Brekle, this brown gives us all malt. Caramel, nuts and perhaps straw all show up in the finish of this beer from a brewery that dates back to 1871.
There is of course some hop component to this beer. Citra is the name of the hop and if you have paid any attention to the hop obsessed beer press, you will recognize the name. Citra is a hybrid hop that can be used for both aroma and bittering. It was created just 5 years ago and has such bright fruity qualities that brewers singing its praises.
A real dorky exercise would be to try the Sixpoint Bengali Tiger IPA, Sixpoint Autumnation Pumpkin Beer, and Brekle's Brown. Three styles, one hop.