Since introducing Chef’s tasting notes, I’ve made a point in trying something new every week. The idea is to expose my palate to new flavors and to inspire creations.
Why It’s Important
I believe that it’s important to challenge our tastes. If we stick with the same flavors we usually make, we run the risk of becoming bitter, jaded.
I was guilty of being in a rut. It took a long-time friend (Thank you Kelly!) to shake me out of my stupor and get me into trying new tastes. My career is exciting again.
I hope these tasting notes inspire you dear readers. Set aside twenty dollars every pay (or more if you can afford it) and get tasting. I guarantee the ideas will flow. You will hate some, but nothing starts a conversation like a healthy debate.
This week I tasted a couple of beers and a cheese. Here are my notes on them.
I had this beer last Friday. I don’t go for branded products, and this beer is a great reason. My friend saw this beer in the store, so he bought me one with theirs.
We both tried to like it, honestly, we did. My friend’s wife tried it; it seemed a waste to throw it away. Alas, after one sip, it went down the drain.
Appearance: It looked like any regular beer on tap, like a Coors or a bud light. It was pale yellow, effervescent, with a head that dissipated shortly after the pour.
Smell: Smelled faintly of yeast, fruity, wheat.
Taste: It tasted like someone watered down a beer we would get at the local pizzeria.
Mouthfeel: Thin. Carbonation was okay, but then again so is club soda or dealcoholized beer.
Overall Score: 2.5/5: The branding is all that sets this beer apart from some other cheap canned beer. I guess if you wanted to support the band from beer sales, this would be the way to go. I’d prefer to see them in concert, while imbibing the swill they serve there. Perhaps this is how they came to the flavor of this beer?
I would expect a beer from the baddest rock band out there to pack a hefty punch, not a whimper.
Serve with: If I would serve this beer at a party it would be with finger or pub food like potato skins, wings so hot that you’d need anything to wash them down, or even fried items.
I bought a six-pack for our poker game last Friday, and it didn’t disappoint. I made a point to serve it in a beer glass, but I feel that following the instructions for serving on the bottle–in a brandy glass at 8°C–would give the experience the brewers were looking for.
Appearance: When I poured the beer, it gave a great head immediately. The beer was a murky dark orange color, almost yellow. The head disappeared quickly but didn’t leave much lace on the glass. (Lace is what you call the lacy white ring that remains on the glass after the head dissipates)
Smell: It was crisp, sweet with a heady smell of hops and wheat.
Taste: I tasted caramel laced with spices such as cardamom, coriander, ginger. The beer is heavy on the hops which give a spruce flavor.
Mouthfeel: The beer was creamy, yet crisp on the tongue. The flavor of the hops lingered in the background.
Overall Score: 8/10: This beer has a bold hop and spruce flavor that will be a turnoff to the average beer drinker. If it had a bit more lace the beer would hit a nine on the scale.
Serve with: This beer would go great with Cendre de Lune goat cheese, a grilled T-bone steak in the fall, or even paired with a sweet apple pie during apple picking season.
Cendre de Lune (Moon Dust)
I originally bought this cheese because I was looking for a goat cheese to try. I had success serving Le Cendrillon to friends, and was looking for something similar. I caught glimpse of a package of Cendre de Lune from Du Village. A quick look at the package told me the cheese changes taste every day before its best before date. Into my basket it went.
Note that Cendre de Lune is a cow’s milk cheese. It was inspired by the award winning triple cream from the same company. The look of lunar ash was inspired by the poet’s use of the moon to describe beauty and good taste.
Appearance: The box tells us that as the cheese gets closer to the best before date, the flavor mellows out. My cheese has another thirty days to go, so I am looking at having a middle-aged cheese. The surface is white with specks of gray that dot the pillowy outside and look as though someone dry-brushed them on. The inside shows a ring of firmed cheese, with the center a touch softer and lighter then the outer ring.
Smell: The rind gives a musty smell, not unlike a regular brie cheese. The inside smells like a high fat brie cheese.
Taste: The first feeling is of a strong creamy taste, with an acidity in the background. The cheese tastes earthy, and slightly peppery.
Mouthfeel: Rich and luscious, with a full fat taste you would expect from a goat cheese.
Overall Score: 9/10: This cheese is a gorgeous addition to your repertoire. The cheese delivers on its promise of good taste and beauty.
Serve with: As a cheese course by itself (with crostini or crackers,) or in a melt with strong vegetables such as butternut squash. Great served with the Maudite beer above.
What new and exciting things have you tried out this week? Let me know in the comments.