Beer and Food Pairings: It Ain’t Nuthin’ But a Brie Thang Baybaaay!

“Keeping it real” is a pretty subjective concept. The individual nature of the “realness” varies from person to person, transcending convention as it harkens the partaker to the days of yore as they reminisce of the past experiences that acted as the roots of their image. One might call it a guilty pleasure or a stroll down a lane bespeckled with memories, some good, some bad, and many just plain awkward!

Ok truth time…on occasion, on one of those aforementioned strolls down memory lane, I still hit up the corner market for a taste of my past, a malt liquor time machine that takes me back: Olde English 800. Don’t judge me.

Not exactly the “flux capacitor” that most people rely on to transport them to their past, I know. But don’t pretend that I’m the only one who has ever hit the 7-11 for a 40oz. of that “8 Ball”!

An American original, malt liquor has been demonized for years.  Makers of this controversial liquid have even been accused of attempting to destroy entire communities!

Malt liquor, a light-bodied, pale, dry, very mildly hopped pilsner-style lager with an above-average alcohol content actually started as a product marketed to the upper crust of society. Early advertising of this now labeled “bad boy” brew compared the beverage to champagne, and even went as far as to suggest that it be served at cocktail parties. One of the earliest makers of malt liquor brands donned the name, Country Club, which is indicative of this early highbrow marketing idea. The Country Club brand is still available and falls under the umbrella of the Pabst conglomerate.

So what does one pair with a badass beverage like a 40 of O.E.? Cheese, of course!

Olde English 800 Brie Cheese

But not just any cheese…you need to have a cheese that can stand up to the street hardened toughness that Olde English is synonymous with!

Bringin’ the funk with a wedge of cheese is pretty easy considering the amount of these delicious dairy products that are capable of declaring gangsta warfare on our olfactory senses.

But only one may sit in the throne. And in the world of smelly cheeses, few can compete with the kingpin of stank that is beer-washed cheese.

Beer-washed cheeses are a branch of washed rind cheeses: cheeses whose rinds are given periodic baths, mostly with brine. The most popular washed rind cheese would probably be Brie. The science behind this madness is that the beer is better than the brine at fostering the growth of a bacterium called Brevibacterium linens on the rind.

When beer is pulled off the bench to take the place of the brine, you end up with an even stinkier version of an already pungent cheese!

After sourcing a wedge of Jasper Hill Winnimere Vermont beer-washed cheese, I proceeded with the pairing. Upon opening the cheese, the odor of a dirty sock pistol whipped my nasal passages with its aroma. This stuff stinks! But not one to risk losing my “street cred,” I pushed forward.

It tastes exactly like it smells.

As I washed the smelly beer-washed cheese down with the Olde English 800, it was as if a battle was occurring between Dr. Dre and Dr. Scholls…and I could taste it.

Malt liquor and feet…but it’s aiight, I’m cool.

Needless to say the cheese is most definitely an acquired taste!

It is safe to say that Olde English 800 is a part of my past that I associate with the notion of “keeping it real;” I own it. I stand before you and admit I enjoy a beer that falls under the “guilty pleasure” category.

But don’t sit there reading this and tell me you don’t have one!

C’mon…keep it real…what is your guilty pleasure beer?

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About Ryan Van Brunt

Ryan is from Vancouver, Washington, a mere stone’s throw away from Portland, Oregon. Along with a love of craft beer and writing, he's a sucker for 80’s movies, hair metal, and most all other pop-culture.

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2 comments

  1. Don’t forget to pour a bit out for the homies next time. Great post, I too take a trip down memory lane with the big 4-O on an occasion. For holiday gifts I like to bottle my home brew in 40oz bottles with a mock label. Good stuff.

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