Thursday, 31 May 2012

Samuel Smith's 'India Pale'

I've had a couple of superb summery beer and food meals over the last few days. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was a great match for the asparagus risotto I had the other night, the hops fulfilling the same role as the acidity in a good cool-climate white wine might; cleansing and invigorating the palate without having so much fruit that it overpowers.

Apparently after a couple of years the blue
 veins will appear naturally.
So this isn't a 'blue cheese' as such.
Slightly more appropriate to a few days up in sunny East Yorkshire was Sam Smith's IPA with some cheese that we picked up from Roberts & Speight in Beverley. True to form we went in to buy some tickets for their Spring Wine Tasting (you can have a read about some of the wines here) and came out with cheese, bread, beer, wine and a couple of tickets. Armed with some fresh crusty bread, a small jar of Cheese Maker's Pickle from Cottage Delight, a chunk of very very mature Mull cheddar (see the picture)* and I was ready to go.

The beer pours a deep golden colour and has a fairly restrained orange-pithy hop aroma with a back up of hazelnuts. The gentle toffee malt came forward more on the palate, and there was a lovely sort of old-school bitterness to it - none of your new-world tropical fruit flavours here thank you very much! There's plenty of body, which also shows it can be done without  jaw-dropping levels of alcohol - or any other part of the anatomy for that matter. I realise that this isn't the most revolutionary or exciting beer in the world but I thought it was a good traditional IPA, and it went superbly well with the sweet fruit of the chutney and the tang of the cheddar. An apple for my pudding and I was well set-up for a tough afternoon of relaxing in the sun.
5% abv. £2.29 (55cl) from Roberts & Speight, Beverley - local wine merchants with a decent range of local and imported beers and glassware; well worth a visit if you're in the area. It's always good to see a beer that's seaweed fined and so entirely vegan.

* I know nothing about cheese, maybe Steve will be able to enlighten me as to what's gone on with the cheddar. I can only tell you how good it tastes!


  1. mature cheddar has to be the cheese that goes with the most styles of beer. I've never seen blue veining in cheddar, but I assume as it ages it dries slightly, the pores shrink/surafce cracks leaving room for bacteria to get in.

    a quick google finds this:

    1. Thanks Steve... Not sure you can see the cracks in the photo but the cheese is really very dry and cracked, to the point where I was having to saw it with a serrated knife to get through it! It's on of the cracks where the bacteria must have got in to form the veining.

  2. Great suggestions, can't wait to try some of them out.

  3. Samuel Smith makes classic beers and pairing it with a super-aged cheddar? A man after my own taste buds. Good work!

  4. Cheers guys. Great to hear from people who won't see Sam Smith's so often as we might over here. It's sometimes good to step back every now and again and bear in mind it doesn't always have to be the exciting, new and exotic that can quench the thirst!