July 31, 2015

Good evening folks!

I wanted to mix things up and provide a beer + snack pairing that I’ve been obsessing over lately.  The focus will be on keeping my ingredients local & fresh while making something that the average dude with zero kitchen skills can still pull off.  So get your taste buds ready and check this pop of flavor out!

Now most beer and food pairing aficionados with recommend a spicy food with a hoppy, bitter IPA so I thought I would stick to the book for my first go-around at this.  I’m going to call this my “Ghost Pepper Spread” made with strong Chevrioin Buche goat cheese and locally made “Blackbeards Ghost” jam from Jolly Roger Gourmet Jams.  This particular cheese is made from 100% goat’s milk and holds a VERY robust flavor.  The other main ingredient is this rockin’ jam made with a small amount of ghost pepper, blackberries, and strawberries for the perfect combination of hot and cold.  Lastly, we’re going to match this awesome little treat with Southern Star Brewing Co.’s Valkyrie Double IPA brew.  This is a seasonal beer available only June through December every year and resembles the hoppy West Coast IPA styles.  At 9.2% ABV and 100 IBUs this Valkryie DIPA is an explosion in your mouth!

My wife and I usually make this cheese spread dish with fig jam but when I found this Jolly Roger jam at the local farmer’s market I knew I had to incorporate it.  The spiciness of the ghost pepper and the boldness of the goat cheese stand up pretty well against the bitterness of a double IPA beer.  This is definitely something to eat after your main meal because it’s a pallet wrecker!  But once you start snacking on it you won’t be able to stop…

It’s simple.  Drop your slab of goat cheese into a small oven-friendly baking dish.  You don’t want a lot of extra room; a large container is not recommended.  Cover the goat cheese with a healthy dose of your jam and simply place the combination in the oven at 350 degrees.  Allow for it to bake for about 8-10 minutes, just long enough for it to almost reach a boiling point (you don’t want for this to start boiling everywhere!).  After it’s ready – cut out a square of the jam covered goat cheese, put it on your serving platter, and maybe drizzle some of the extra jam around it.  Now break out your favorite snack crackers!  I recommend a plain flavored cracker because this spread already has enough going on (I tried it with a few cracker varieties and none of them were great.  Definitely don’t use toasted garlic crackers).

Lastly, pour your double IPA beer into your desired drinking vessel and enjoy!  The cheese!  The sweetness!  The spice! The bitter hops!  The high ABV buzz!  The salt from the crackers!  I’m not sure what I like more but I know that it makes for a great snack.  Also, it’s an impressive looking dish with very little effort required.

All local ingredients.  Strong flavors.  Strong beer.  Easy to make.  Impressive.  BOOM!

Cheers to the beers y’all