April CABPOM: Ballyblue and Great Divide Belgian Yeti

Ten months in and I'm still enjoying writing this feature, regardless of how many people find it interesting. I have a summary page in the works for the anniversary.
Ballyblue and Ballyoak
I've noticed that I'm yet to feature any cheese from Northern Ireland; so this month rectifies that. Fivemiletown is a  dairy that takes milk from a local collective of farmers and produces a variety of cow and goats milk cheeses. I picked up a couple of these this week and in perusing their website discovered some tasty sounding recipes which I decided to make and pair a beer with.

First up then, the Ballyblue which is very similar to cambazola (a blue-veined brie). I chose a Great Divide Belgian Style Yeti to pair with. Now not everyone will have this bottle lying about, but a good substitute would be Guinness Foreign Extra Stout or Bristol Beer Factory Ultimate Stout, both strong rich variations on regular stout. The beer pours deep black with a chocolate tinged tan head. It has a fruity milk chocolate nose, with hints of roast barley and plenty of vanilla. There’s a fruity sweetness to the beer (no doubt from the Belgian yeast) and a gentler mouth-feel than those others in the yeti family. Warming but not boozy with a long gentle roast barley and chocolate finish. A lovely beer in its own right, but how doe sit pair with food?

Monster beer for a monster dish of food.

I chose the Ballyblue and wilted spinach pasta to pair this with. I think I probably used only half the amount of pasta suggested so ended up  with a sauce that was very rich indeed. This was no problem for the stout which was able to cut right through the fat and refresh the palate for the next bite (carbonation is key!). The roast barley was able to extract the earthy spinach from within that cream and cheese and the touch of lemon zest interacted with those yeast esters adding some extra "zing". Chocolate and cheese is now an accepted pairing and those chocolatey notes in the beer bring out some of those ripe fruit notes in the cheese.

Next up is the Ballyoak, which is similar to those tubes of Austrian smoked cheese but with a better texture. Omelette is the order of the day for this dish.I'm lucky enough to have a selection of fresh herbs so chose sage, lemon thyme. curly parsley and coriander for the omelette. The cheese is tricky to grate so do it in advance, rather than when the omelette's waiting for it (like I did!) I would pair this with a Trappist Tripel but have none to hand, so a regular Abbey style will have to do instead. I've a bottle of both Tripel Karmeliet (reviewed here by Pete drinks) and Mikkeller's Belgian Tripel in the fridge; so will try both out.

 Two very different looking beers here but how do they compare? The Karmeliet pours effervescent hazy blonde with fluffy white head that collapses to a lacing. Spicy wheat and banana toffo yeast esters on the nose. High carbonation, honey malt, spicy wheat and smooth oats combine with a warming esteric finish.The Mikkeller beer is one-dimensional in comparison. It pours dark amber with thin off-white head. Aroma of bread, caramel and burnt sugar. Very sweet with strong boozy note and a hint of lemon. Sweet and alcoholic finish.

Omelette and two Tripels.
 So how well do they pair with the omelette? The boozy Belgian tripel stomps all over it hiding the flavours whereas the tripel karmeliet complements the dish well. Those spicy esters and wheat bring out the herbs, the sweetness pulls out the smoky cheese, the oats and yeast really highlight the asparagus in ways I can't quite describe and our old friend carbonation cleans the palate between mouthfuls. A lovely pairing again, showing complementary flavours are just as valid as contrasting.

However for me the ballyblue and Belgian Yeti pips it to the post, just; so that becomes this month's CABPOM.


  1. mmmm cheese.
    keep the features coming!

    1. As long as people comment on them I'll keep it up!

  2. I prefer Tripel Karmeliet to any trappist tripel, even Westmalle! Although I've never quite been able to work out how its name is supposed to be pronounced. I tend to say/read it as if it were transcribed for French phonology, myself, but I've heard lots of "Karmelite"s and "Karmeleet"s, too, and even a "Caramelly". YouTube reviews haven't been able to settle the matter, either. I don't suppose that you (or any readers) can put me out of my misery on the subject?

  3. I've always pronounced it Ca-mealy-ut. Its not French but flemmish, so you need to work out how the Dutch would pronounce it.
    A gooogle suggests its karmy-leet though

    1. Cheers! I just had a look at a Dutch pronunciation website, and it seems to confirm that "eet" is the correct ending. I've tried it with asparagus before, and plan to do so again this afternoon...

  4. Hi, just wondering where you source your beers in Northern Ireland? I only know of The Vineyard & Gap Wines in Belfast as decent off-licences to get non run-of-the-mill beers (apart from the selection in the supermarkets). Are there hidden gems out there or do you use the internet (which usually entails high delivery charges)? Cheers!

    1. hi burnsy, missed this comment a year ago; so no idea if you'll see the reply

      although i sometimes pop into the vineyard, they've usually imported via the uk; so the shipping cost is passed on via higher shop price; so i do order online as it works out about the same cost.

      some shops that have reasonable NI postage are alesbymail, alesela and brewdog online