“You’ve done it,” Stephen Hale said, “you’ve achieved the trifecta!”

“The trifecta?”

With a sinister smile he says, “Three beer events in three nights!”

beer-271_1280×960.jpgYes, three beer events in three nights. I was never so glad to be able to just sit and watch TV on a Thursday night. That’s not to say we didn’t have fun, if we had to do it over we’d do it in an instant. I’m sure I sound like a broken record at this point, but all of the events contained people who really loved beer. It’s very exciting to be surrounded by that kind of energy.

In the case of the Beer and Cheese Tasting, it also included people who were ready to take the next step into the beer world. And in some cases, people who were ready to take the plunge into the cheese world (like me.) Not that I’m about to make STL Curds. But hey, everyone loves cheese! Right, Bill?

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beer-273_1280×960.jpgI found that the Gruyere paired quite nicely with the Pale Ale. They both complimented each other’s flavors without one being stronger than the other. The Goat Cheese/Oatmeal Stout combination was the standout of the night for me. The flavors melded so well together. Both items had a silky quality that made the pairing so enjoyable to me. Plus it was interesting to see such a dark beer pair with such a light cheese.

beer-275_1280×960.jpgI found that the Parmigiano Reggiano was quite strong and fought a bit with the Christmas Ale. I didn’t really enjoy the spice pairing of the Christmas with the Parmigiano. The Red Dragon contained mustard seed which once again didn’t really pair well in my eyes with the delicate spicing of the Pumpkin Ale.

The next cheese, Morbier, seemed to be one of those love/hate cheeses. Unfortunately I was in the “hate” camp. It had a very dank flavor that reminded me of dirty rag that had been sitting around for quite some time. I’m sure this cheese is like the lambic of the beer world, to a novice it can be overwhelming and unusual. As for the pairing, I thought it completely overpowered the beer. I just didn’t enjoy it at all.

beer-280_1280×960.jpgThe last pairing was the Smoked Cheddar and Hefeweizen was probably one of the most interesting. One their own they seemed pretty straightforward, but once you paired them they developed a really complex smoky flavor that was present but not as obvious as before the pairing. It was very impressive to see how the Hefe brought the smoke of the cheese forward and how it enveloped your mouth.

beer-277_1280×960.jpgSome of you beer nerds may be looking at the menu and may be wondering about why they chose the order they did. Usually you want to start with some of your lightest beers and move up to your darker beers, as not to cause palate fatigue. But the reason they chose the order they did is because of the cheese. They were concerned that the cheddar and the morbier would cause the same sort of palate affect as a strong beer. I believe it was a good decision as some of the creaminess of the cheese really helped to subdue much of the stronger alcohol flavors.