Little Qualicum Cheeseworks Brie & Dageraad Blonde: Featuring another delicious brie cheese, in this post my intention was to explore melding of spicy yeast esters from a Belgian blonde ale and a the creamy buttery flavours of a soft creamy cheese. This style of beer can be paired with all kinds of cheeses, but it is best with a slightly milder soft cheese like this one in my opinion. Luckily, I also got a wickedly good deal on this brie from a local store since it was near, but not quite past its expiry date.
Overview of the BC Cheese Makers and Brewers: Cheese maker Little Qualicum Cheeseworks is located in outskirts of Parksville on Vancouver Island, BC on the Morningstar Farm which also hosts Mooberry Winery next to it (I’m unclear on the ownership of the three, but I will assume it’s all a joint venture). Their cheese is 100% made from their own cow’s milk and they boast being BC’s first SPCA certified dairy farm which is kind of cool and worth bragging about – more information about that certification can be found on the BCSPCA website. Operating for just over 1 year in Burnaby, BC Dageraad Brewing is a traditional Belgian style focused brewery who has been knocking it out of the park in terms of their beer releases, many of which I have reviewed on this blog.
The Beer: Dageraad Blonde is a near perfect Belgian Blonde ale that easily rivals its import counterparts. It is brewed to a strength of 7.5% abv and is available year round in unfiltered bottle conditioned 22 oz bottles, I still have 4 bottles of the first release in my beer cellar to see how it changes over time since there’s still some live yeast in there that helps preserve it. Their blonde features aroma and flavours of clove, grass, cereal grains, hints of coriander and en epic creamy light mouth feel from its predominately perfect effervescence. Seriously, you have to try this beer it is wonderful!
The Cheese: Dubbed Island Bries, which is a great play on words, this cheese has 25% milk fat and 49% moisture and is made with pasteurized local cows milk from their resident cattle. Currently their best selling product, it presents aromas of salt, earth, straw, butter and some sharp grassy notes. In terms of flavour, it features bits of malty cheddar, salty butter, earth, slight basement on the rind and hay throughout. I felt that it was a bit stiffer than some brie cheeses, which makes it easier to slice and serve on a cheese platter if you hosting or simply indulging.
The Pairing: As expected, this was a very good pairing that had some nice impacts on both the beer and the cheese. When I ate the brie after a few sips of beer, the first thing I noticed was a big increase in farmhouse funk and basement savory mold notes, followed by heightened salted butter and a silkier texture in the cheese that made it quite delectable. I found that the beer effervescence was enhanced to give it even more of a delicate velvety texture that embellished the clove spices and grainy malts while also uncovering some hidden pear esters which paired amazingly well with the brie.
Overall Rating: Excellent at 8/10, a great combination of artisan beer and cheese that I would be happy to repeat.
Check out this older springtime video at the Morningstar Farm featuring their cows running around after being let loose from a long winter in the barn. Those are some happy cows!