08/09/2011

CABPOM September: Southern Tier Iniquity and Isle of Man Oak Smoked Cheddar.

Baked beans are a notoriously difficult food to match beers with as they have multiple elements, whilst certain flavour components work with certain beers, other characteristics jar on the palate. In response to Mark Dredge's original search I suggested a dark mild. When it came to the actual pairing Mark chose the Kernel mild, which was perceived to be too bitter. My suggestion was more along the lines of a traditional mild a la Greene King XX Mild or Brains Dark. Fast forward a few months and I decided to revisit the challenge myself.


Being a vegetarian my sausages didn't contain any meat, and my ovenbaked chips are not a patch on Mark's home-made masterpieces (still waiting for a dinner invite ;) ) but the comparison still holds. I like cheese on my beans; so used the tasty oak-smoked mature cheddar from Isle of Man. I also added some chipotle sauce to the beans. The smokiness of the chilis really helped to bring out the smoke in the cheese.

On to the beer pairing then. Rather than going with one of my own suggestions I decided instead to try something completely different Black "IPA"s have become a bit of a fad recently. One brewery that was perhaps ahead of the curve was  Southern Tier who first produced their Iniquity a good to and a half years ago now. Iniquity is by far the best example of the style I've tried. As you can see from the pic its a black-brown beer with frothy brown head. Roasted barley and chocolate on the nose, followed by a burst of tropical fruit activity. First sip gives a quick chocolate attack, followed by mango and pine resin. Enough alcohol that you can feel its effect on the back of your throat as you breathe in and see the legs on the side of the glass; so I'd not recommend this with a lunch meal, unless you plan on lying down to sleep for a few hours afterwards! Bitterness balanced  the malt bill and it finished with roast coffee and dark chocolate.

Together these are truly something special. The fruit flavours compliment the tomato sauce of the beans, whilst the dark malts help to accentuate the herbiness of the sausages and the smoked cheese enhances the chocolate notes in the beer. The thickness of body compliments the potatoes. The carbonation and aggressive hops tackle the fat of the cheese and sausages. In short each of the elemnts in the beer tackle different facets of the dish and the dish helps bring each aspect of the beer to the fore, a perfect match!

Another beer that I thought would go well with the dish is Panther Black; so will try this at a later date and get back to you with my findings. This one is more of a lunchtime beer, at exactly half the alcohol content!

Of course this wouldn't be a proper cheese and beer pairing post without tasting the beer and cheese on their own.The initial maturity of the cheese drys the tongue but the beer scrubs this off well making each new mouthful seem like the first. The smokiness really accentuates the chocolate flavours of the beer, whereas the mature cheddar itself serves to bring out more bitterness than in the beer alone. I didn't try this melted on toast but that would probably be the best way to try this CABPOM.

I know I promised no blue cheese and dark beer this month, one out of two can't be bad. Those of you needing a blue cheese fix, try Cornish Blue with Rochefort 8, mouth full of fruit, yum!

7 comments:

  1. Beans, beer and chipotle sauce....a taste of the wild west maybe? Never considered beer matching with the humble baked bean, but with the added cheese I could be convinced to give it a go.

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  2. Since first having cheese on baked beans I've found it difficult to go without (except maybe with cooked breakfast). Mark carried out a fairly extensive survey a few months ago. I quite often add chili sauce to beans too and tomato soup

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  3. Next time you're in the South East then met me know and I'll cook you some of my delicious chips :)

    Nice post. I like the choice of beer and I can imagine it working really well. I like the smokiness running through it, too. YUM!

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  4. Cheers Mark! I've had it niggling away at me ever since your original posts and tried it on an off chance. Definitely want to try those chips!

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  5. I tell you what ... the smoke flavour in the cheddar would work really well against the rauchbier that Mark had in his lineup. That might've made the result a different one.

    BeerBirraBier.

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  6. Rauchbier works well with most savoury foods as smoke brings out the umami

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