Cheese is basically one of my love languages. I have an overwhelming fondness for cheese that manifests itself by way of weekly cheese-eating sessions complete with a hipster-approved marble and slate board towering with Gouda, Mozzarella, Cheddar, Goat, Buffalo, grapes, dried fruit, nuts, the works. So, naturally, when Gilt City asked if I’d like to attend a Beer & Cheese Class at Beecher Cheese I said “yes”!
I have to admit, prior to the class I had heard a lot about Beecher Cheese, especially about their mac & cheese. But I was totally unprepared with how drool-worthy the store actually smells. When you walk through the doors you are instantly hit with the most comforting scent of butter and cheese – it’s pretty amazing (especially if you love cheese, mac & cheese, and anything decadent and comforting). As I’m writing this I am literally kicking myself with regret (okay, not literally) because I didn’t get any of their famed mac!
Despite my pasta-less evening, I had an amazing time at the class. I am not a beer aficionado. I couldn’t tell you what a hop was if my life depended on it, I probably can’t even pour a beer correctly (assuming there is a right way to pour it). But you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy these classes – the “instructors”, or as I like to call them “genius food guides”, are obviously experts in their subjects but they are so personable that you don’t even notice that you’re learning!
I learned the difference between an ale and lager, found out so many interesting beer history tidbits, and – thanks to Beecher Cheese’s resident Cheesemonger – I also found the answer to one of my most pertinent cheese questions ever – what exactly are those crystals that make my favorite aged gouda so darn amazing? Turns out those crystals are neither salt nor sugar as I had suspected. They’re actually composed of tyrosine – non-essential amino acids that form with age, and they’re often added into the cheese during the cheesemaking process. I also found out that there’s pretty much an underground group of cheesemakers that are not only incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about everything cheese, but they also meetup at a warehouse (usually in Long Island City) for an epic cheese competition with competitors from around the globe. Um, cheese experts, where can I get a ticket?
Altogether it was an incredibly fun evening, I learned so much. Even if you’re there just for the beer & cheese, it’s so great to listen to people who are passionate about what they do, plus the cheese was amazing (of course). I love that Gilt City features these sort of experiences – it’s such a great way to get out, get to know your city, and do and try new things! Thanks for having me Beecher Cheese, I cannot wait to return (and finally try that mac)!