CABPOM December: Sam Smith's Oatmeal Stout and Aged Gouda

Two very different beers.
The continental market at Christmas time is something I look forward to as it affords the opportunity to try new cheeses. Two that took my fancy this time were Old Amsterdam Gouda and a goat's milk Gouda. Being quite different from my usual choices I thought they'd be good for this month's cheese and beer pairing. I turned to the BA's food & beer guide for inspiration and they suggest that aged goudas go well with both imperial stouts and brown ales. As I have an oatmeal stout and a nut brown ale from Sam Smith's I'd been waiting to try I decided to try these together and find out what works best.

Aged Gouda, oatcakes and goat Gouda.
Goat Gouda is a hard, slightly waxy off-white with a slight sweaty-feet aroma. Fairly chalky in texture it has a light and fruity flavour with a long finish.
Aged Gouda is a pale and crumbly yellow with an open texture. Not much in the way of aroma but more than made up for by the rich and lasting mature cheddar flavour.

This is a good  amber-brown bitter with off-white head. There's not much aroma in it other than a trace of yeast esters. Quite fruity up front with plenty of bready malt, an unpleasant metallic hop bitterness and a sweet finish.A bit of a let down if I'm honest considering the good things I've heard about it.

With goat gouda the nutbrown ale loses its metallic character and flavours of bruised apples and baked sulatanas are drawn out with a long sweet toffee finish. The cheese at first becomes more intense in flavour but strangely begins to have a very sweet icing-sugar finish.

With the aged gouda I got a strange solvent flavour from the beer and the cheese loses some of its complexity, not a match i'd recommend!

The Oatmeal Stout is dark brown-black with an aroma of tobacco and bitter coffee. Pours with a fluffy tan head. Sweet up front in the mouth with a hint of oak and smoke. The oats give it a creamy texture and a long milk chocolate finish. Again a slight metallic hop but not too distracting from the overall flavour, much more enjoyable.

Oatmeal stout and gouda is however a revelation, the tobacco from the aroma manifests itself in taste as good quality pipe tobaco of the kind the kindly old gentlemen waiting at the bus stop used to smoke. The cheese is lifted up from the palate and takes on a meaty flavour of good quality  ham and smoked bacon all at once. A sticky liquorice toffee finish is coaxed from the beer. When an oatcake or two is added into the equation it becomes a meal by itself and one I'd happily have again!

The beer stomps all over the delicate goats cheese however, though it does draw out some of the creamy and citrus flavours you'd expect from a fresh goats cheese.


So if you haven't been able to guess I'd recommend Sam Smith's oatmeal stout and aged gouda as a cheese and beer pairing to try!

I've discovered M&S in Belfast has a big cheese selection so I look forward to tasting and pairing these together with beer in the new year!


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