Beer and Food Pairings | Blonde Ale
Welcome back to the delicious world of beer and food. It was a treat to be able to showcase wild/sour fermentation styles last month, and the DIY approach even gave us inspiration for this week. In The Basics, we featured the foundation for beer and food pairing and any newcomers or interested parties are encouraged to catch up.
Hiking season is in full swing here on the front range and coupled with the DIY approach from last month, we were compelled to feature a month of picnic-friendly dishes that you can take in a backpack. To really cater to the hikers out there, the beer profile we are building this month will all be cans that are available in a mix-a-six at Hazel’s in Boulder.
For a light quaffable beer to start the month, we are pairing with a blonde ale which the BJCP defines the flavors of the style, “Initial soft malty sweetness, but optionally some light character malt flavor (e.g., bread, toast, biscuit, wheat) can also be present. Caramel flavors typically absent. Low to medium esters optional, but are commonly found in many examples. Light to moderate hop flavor (any variety), but shouldn’t be overly aggressive. Low to medium bitterness, but the balance is normally towards the malt. Finishes medium-dry to somewhat sweet.”
A well known and widely appreciated brewery on the Southwestern-most edge of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, Ska Brewing Co. produces a wonderful example of the American Blond Ale style. Their True Blonde Ale, “Is mildly sweet from the use of local honey, followed by bready malts, a touch of tangy wheat, a pleasantly mild bitterness, and citrus hop flavors in the end.” according to Co-Founder Bill Graham.
Our focus on an easily transportable dish to pair with the True Blonde led us to a selection of fresh fruit with a homemade sweet cream. Not only does this allow for an everchanging selection of fruit based on personal preference and what’s fresh, but a gentle base of flavors to harmonize with the light Blonde Ale.
The sweet cream dip is a simple mixture of:
- 1 – 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
- 1 – 8 oz. container of Cool-Whip, room temp
- 1 – 7 oz. jar Marshmallow Fluff
- 1 tsp. Lemon juice
- 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
After blending the ingredients together, cool until ready for use. For the fruit selectionp; we chose Strawberries, Blackberries, Apples and Grapes; but feel free to use whatever is fresh that looks good.
Keeping the flavors of the food light and simple allows the subtle Blonde Ale to show itself. At first the honey in the beer shows itself while resonating with the sweetness of the fruit and dip, while the creamy mouthfeel of the beer and dip meld together wonderfully. The dry, bready-malt finish and effervescence clean the sweetness off the palate to keep you going back for more until the bowl is gone.
As the body of the Elevation 8 Second Kolsch featured previously, is similar to the True Blonde Ale, it’s no surprise those similarities would translate to our cheese pairing this week. Heublumen, which translates from Swiss-German to hayflowers, is aged for 6 months with a rind adorned in finely cut hay. The semi-firm raw cow’s milk cheese has an earthy, woodsy aroma with subtle, concentrated mineral and floral notes.
The bready, malty flavors of the Blonde resonated wonderfully with the aspects imparted by the “hay wrapper” of the Heublumen. The acid in the cheese worked to brighten the residual sugars in the beer, these flavors were highlighted even more when balanced against the other savory, nutty flavors. A proper pairing for certain as the finish leaves just the right taste in your mouth to keep you excited for the next bite.
As the warmer months are upon us there will be more and more fresh produce available from local growers. By enjoying the fresh produces in nature it is easier to appreciate the connection between the food and the soil it comes from. Enjoy the upcoming hiking season and some of the suggested routes, we can’t wait to ourselves.
Alewise is a Cicerone and Beer Education Co-op founded by Eric Linder and David Bird in Boulder, CO. Our goal is to strengthen the beer community by fueling the knowledge and passion of those involved or interested in joining it by making things more accessible and fun. When in Boulder ask for David in the taproom at Avery brewing Co. and Eric at Backcounty Pizza and Taphouse.