Last night, I went to Say Cheese and Say Cheese at Black Creek Pioneer Village for the first time. (Full disclosure, I work closely with BCPV) I haven’t been back to Black Creek since I was in grade 6! So it was a unique experience. The beer workshop is hosted by the lovely Julia Rogers, cheese society member and all around awesome person.
The tour started off with one of Black Creek’s cheerful animators leading us around the village. Each person was assigned a character card, and we learned a lot about what the beer scene was like in the 19th century. The principal beer makers were women! They made beer for the whole family. Also, women could only own property if they were widowed.
After learning a bit about everyone’s characters, we traipsed into the mill. We took a look at barley and other things needed to make beer. Barley looks like coffee when it’s all ground up! Barley also is what gives beer it’s colour and most of it’s flavour.
After the tour, we headed down into the brewery and pub. Julia had arranged a nice selection of Canadian cheese and beer.
The first pairing was St. Albert’s Cheddar and Black Creek India Pale Ale. This cheese was my favourite! It was medium textured and creamy. It’s available in various stores, and also at Pusateri’s fruit market. Black Creek IPA is made on site and is available at the LCBO.
The next pairing was Lankaaster cheese from Glengarry Cheese. It was an hard aged cow milk cheese, and reminded me a bit of Parmesan. I liked it. It was paired with Creemore Springs urBock, a strong German lager, from Creemore, Ontario. A great ale for winter.
Next up was C’est Bon Chevre, which I enjoyed. This goat cheese was from Transvaal Farm in Saint Mary, Ontario. It was light and delicious! One of the things that I loved about this event was hearing stories about the cheese maker. This particular goat came from Riverdale Farm! And now it’s happily living on Transvaal Farm. The cheese was paired with a festive fall Pumpkin Ale from Great Lakes Brewery, in Etobicoke.
(PS: These sweet potato “root chips” were delicious! And made in-house. )
Mouton Rouge was next, a raw sheep milk cheese from Ewenity Dairy Co-op, in Fergus, Ontario. This cheese wasn’t my favourite. It was supple and a bit gritty. This cheese was paired with Black Oak Nut Brown Ale, made at the Black Oak Brewery in Oakville! This brown ale goes well with meat and bitter chocolate.
Last but not least was Celtic Blue Cheese, a creation from Glengarry Cheese, in Glengarry, Ontario. This firm cow milk cheese was served on a dollop of strawberry jam. The contrast between the sweet jam and nutty cheese was perfect. This was paired with a whopping 10% beer, Trois Mousquetaires Imperial Baltic Porter, from Les Trois Mousquetaires in Brossard, Quebec.
All in all, it was a fantastic experience! This was the last session for the year, but more workshops will happen in 2012, and each pairing is different!