Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

The perfect pair: Maytag Blue cheese and Anchor Old Foghorn

By William Brand
Friday, December 12th, 2008 at 2:47 pm in Uncategorized.

Old Foghorn: Creamy head, malty nose, full taste, hop-filled finish with a bit of warming alcohol. Old Foghorn, first brewed in 1975 was America’s first barleywine in modern times. Maytag Blue: Creamy, tart, excellent.

I’m not sure where I got the information, but someone told me that a great cheese and beer pairing is Anchor’s excellent 8 percent barleywine, Old Foghorn Barley Wine Style Ale and Maytag Blue, the blue cheese from Newton, Iowa that Fritz Maytag’s grandfather developed on their Iowa farm.

It’s above excellent: Superb.

So I tried it at the Anchor Christmas Party earlier this month – it’s an annual bash for the trade, the retailers and distributors and all the other people who support Anchor. Guests also include homebrewers – Anchor holds a special dinner each year for the winning homebrew club in the state.  And, a few of us beer journalists get to attend as well.

At the party, which is at the brewery, 1705 Mariposa St., San Francisco, I went straight the bar, ordered a class of Old Foghorn, then proceeded to the wheel of Maytag Blue that’s always at the party.

A bite of cheese, a swallow of Old Foghorn. Lord allmighty. It’s a pairing made in heaven. The creamy, tart cheesemelds with the beer, a bit of hoppiness, a bit of alcohol. Just dynamite. Try this at home, but don’t plan to drive or eat anything else, it’s nearly a complete meal.

Maytag Blue’s for sale in good supermarkets and cheese stores all over the Bay Area. Old Foghorn is too. I give the pairing FIVE STARS. It’s a classic.

You can order the cheese online and request a catalog. Also, back in 2002,  the Chicago Tribune published a fascinating account about the origins of the cheese, how E.H, Maytag dug caves for the cheese and worked on creating a blue cheese using his prizewinning Holstein cows…

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