Its come to my attention that far too many of my cheese and beer pairings use exotic bottles from specialist off-licences and these may not be available to everyone: so its back to basics this month, with a beer ubiquitous on supermarkets up and down the land - Theakstons Old Peculier
Now the bottle doesn't measure up to the beer on cask (not surprising as its filtered and pasteurised) but is still a decent drop. Its a dark ruby brown ale with light brown head and a lovely vinous, caramelised aroma. Medium body and mouthfeel, a fruity taste with a sweet malty middle and slightly bitter finish.
Blue Cheshire was the first cheese I tried. This is a good match. Almost like a coloured cheddar with a slight hint of the blue fruitiness, its sweet caramel flavours complement the malt and the blue veining picks out and accentuates the fruit. A complementary rather than contrasting pairing then.
I also picked up some aged edam (from Asda). Fruity and nutty it complements the malt bill perfectly but the blue cheese just edges it as the better match.
I was still feeling thirsty so opened my last bottle of Magic Rock Bearded Lady. I love this beer, its probably my favourite UK Imperial Stout; so its time to try some cheese with it. As expected, the blue cheshire works really well, those umami flavours in both coming together to elevate the flavours. The edam works pretty well too, which I wasn't expecting. Those caramel flavours in the cheese pull out some increased fruity hop notes and malt layers that before were obscured. Very nice.
So a close call again this month, but the CABPOM for me is Old Peculier and Cheshire blue cheese. I expect blacksticks blue would do just as well.