Sweet Grass Dairy

Sweet Grass Dairy cheese

Sweet Grass Dairy cheese

No matter how hard I try I will never be able to do this post the full appreciation that it should garner. Work has been crazy!

I’ve long known that people pair wine with cheese. I’ve long known that beer can replace wine in any food pairing. So why not replace cheese plates too right? A visit over to SweetGrassDairy.com will prove that they too know that good beer will pair well with their cheeses. After a few back and forth tweets about cheese and good beer I was convinced I need to try some of their cheese.

I acquired four of their cheeses, and they came shipped nicely with ice packs to keep the cheese cool. Getting 1/2 lb. pieces direct is the way to go. A quick trip over to Earthfare in Athens will prove my point. I felt even better when my mother-in-law called to tell Sarah about some cheese she had at Table & Main in Roswell and that it was from south Georgia. Sarah replied, “Mom their cheese is really good. Richard has some to write a blog about.” Months later I’m finally finishing that.

Thomasville Tomme

Thomasville Tomme

Oh yeah, the cheese and beer! We had enough of each to use one in food then use the rest with crackers and beer. To start with we opened Sweet Grass Dairy’s signature cheese, Thomasville Tomme. It’s a raw grass-based cow’s cheese with a tangy finish. Just as their suggestion online to pair with a pale ale we did. I pulled out a couple of my pale ale home brews that won a gold medal at the Peach State Brew Off this year. The strong finishing hops played well with the tangy and slightly salty cheese. We also grated some to cover a home-made pizza with, which turned out great.

Asher Blue

Asher Blue

Next I enjoyed the Asher Blue. Sarah isn’t a fan of blue cheese, but found this to be much milder than most. They recommend a strong ale, like Stone Arrogant Bastard. I thought why not an imperial IPA? The sharpness, though pleasantly milder here, would play well with a malty-hoppy IIPA. It’s a good thing the beer ran out, or I could have enjoyed Asher Blue with crackers the entire night. I also made some great mashed red potatoes with Applewood bacon pieces with a decent amount of Asher Blue. Best mashed potatoes ever, hands down.

Green Hill w/ Dogfish Head Urkontinent

Green Hill w/ Dogfish Head Urkontinent

I was really excited about the Green Hill. Described as double-cream beauty from pasteurized cow’s milk. Crafted as a soft-ripened Camembert-style cheese, with a sweet, buttery flavor. SGD recommends a Belgian Trippel, and if I sought out a try imported trippel, that may go well. I often find that American versions end up too sweet. It would match up in sweetness, but I often like to contrast that. This was the best pairing choice I made and matched it with a Dogfish Head Urkontinent, which is a Belgian Dubbel and is to die for. No cheese was spent in a food dish!

bacon wrapped grilled jalapenos filled with SGD Lil Moo

bacon wrapped grilled jalapeno filled with SGD Lil Moo

Finally I had this lil’ tub of Lil’ Moo. Soft and creamy, most like a German Boursin-style cheese with a texture similar to cream cheese. Best thing to do with cream cheese? Make stuffed jalapeno wrapped with bacon and grilled. I had some Asher Blue mashed potatoes and some grilled chicken sausage. So why not bangers and mash paired with an IPA home brew? Best crafted ‘craft meal’ I’ve had in a while.

Sweet Grass Dairy is no small town deal either, it’s only in a small south Georgia town. They’ve been in Southern Living on multiple occasions already. Their cheese is as far north as five-star restaurants in New York City. Athens and Atlanta are starting to see their cheeses in local spots as well. Menus list their Thomasville Tomme on hamburgers in places like Farm Burger in Atlanta and Heirloom Cafe in Athens. Their list of products is growing also. My next purchase will be Heat, crafted with real chili peppers including Pasilla and Ancho for the kick, with chipotle and paprika supplying the smokiness. I’m a big fan of most Gouda, but plan to order some Black Swan too. Modeled after a French farmhouse cheese, it’s been washed in Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale to supply a long finish. My suggestion is to leave the wine in the cellar, break out the good beer, because Sweet Grass Dairy cheese needs a higher level of companionship than some grocery store wine.

SGD in 4/12 issue of Southern Living Magazine

SGD in 4/12 issue of Southern Living Magazine

Cheers and thanks to Sweet Grass Dairy for being local.

Posted on August 19, 2012, in Local Tap and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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