My husband and I really love craft beers. Beer with real flavor, even if you say you don’t like beer I am confident there is a beer out there for you! You will see a trend with me and that is beer, I love cooking with it as well as drinking it!
When I saw the local bottle shop Exception(Ale) was having a beer and cheese tasting I had to be there. I mean I LOVE cheese and I LOVE beer (cheese more though). You can pair cheese with beer and not just wine, right? Right!
Exception(Ale) provided the cheese, all we had to do was go and pick from the beers they had on tap to try. In addition to the cheese, they also had olives, crackers (great for cleansing your palate in between beer or cheese), pecans, jams, and honey. We chose to get a tasting flight of 8 beers to try and pair with our cheese assortment.
Cheese’s Available to Taste:
- Amber Mist- a cheddar with Whisky that pairs with Stout and Barley Wine
- Bellevitano Gold- cows milk cheese that pairs with IPA and Cider
- Black Bonber- a cheddar that pairs with Stout, Lager, and a light wheat beer
- Grumpy Goat- goats milk cheese that pairs with IPA, Saison, and Stout
- Hooks-Little Bot Blue- sheep blue cheese that pairs with IPA and Barley Wine (did not taste – not a fan of blue cheese)
- Saxony Alpine Mist- aged Wisconsin cows milk cheese that pairs with Stout, Porter, and Lager
Beer We Tasted*:
- Bitchin’ Bacon Stout – Stout – Oatmeal
- 8.2% ABV 32 IBU Wasserhund Brewing Company, Virginia Beach, VA
- Farmhouse Blueberry Wheat Pale Wheat Ale – American
- 6.5% ABV Bullfrog Brewery, Williamsport, PA
- Frootwood – Fruit Beer – Cherry Ale aged in an oak barrel that also held maple and bourbon
- 8% ABV Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, MI
- Lustful Maiden – Belgian Dubbel
- 7.9% ABV 23 IBU Apocalypse Ale Works (Virginia), Blacksburg, VA
- Maple Stout Hard Cider – Cider – Amber Maple Cider, blend of 4 types of apples
- 6.8% ABV Cobbler Mountain Cellars, Delaplane, VA
- Tart Cherry W-n-B – Stout – Imperial Coffee Oatmeal Stout, with cherry juice
- 9.4% ABV 30 IBU Terrapin Beer Co., Athens, GA
- Too Sweet – Porter – Molé Baltic Porter
- 11.5% ABV 30 IBU J. Wakefield Brewing, Miami, FL
- Vanilla Virginia Black Bear – Stout – Russian Imperial
Thoughts–the beers that stood out to us:
My husband and my overall favorite was the Maple Stout Hard Cider, it was like drinking pancakes. When you first take a sip you are punched in the face with a delicious maple smell with the perfect amount of sweetness. Everyone we were sitting with had the same reaction, they all loved it. This beer went perfectly Bellevitano Gold and Black Bonber cheeses as well as the pecans they had out.
The Farm House Blueberry was our second favorite, it was perfectly light with a mild blueberry taste and a slight sweet malty-ness. This beer was just plain refreshing! It paired well with the Grumpy Goat cheese.
The Bitchin’ Bacon Stout was not nearly as bacon intense as I was expecting. Really it was just a smokey tasting beer, overall not too bad. This beer paired nicely with the Black Bonber and Grumpy Goat cheese.
The Frootwood was another great beer. This one was a bit strong as it was aged in an oak barrel that also held maple and bourbon. It was light-bodied and crisp with a slight maple flavor and ended on a strong cherry note. This beer paired well with almost all the cheese.
The Lustful Maiden was good, rich with a hint of honey. It had a hint of spice on the back-end with a nice malty flavor. This beer paired well with the Saxony Alpine Mist.
Too Sweet was thick and sweet as the name suggests. This beer was warming and quite strong. This beer paired well with the Black Bonber and Bellevitano Gold cheeses.
Not Impressed: Let me just start with my husband and I are not fans of coffee or IPA style beers; therefore we were not in favor of these next two beers. The Tart Cherry W-n-B had too much of a coffee flavor for us, not enough cherry with some smokiness. The Vanilla VA Black Bear was again too much coffee flavor, but also with an IPA flavor that we did not enjoy; as we are not IPA beer fans. This is not to say these are bad beers, just not for our flavor profile.
If you are in the area (Ghent, Norfolk) I suggest you stop and and check out their amazing selection of beers, cheese, and specialty items. It’s the perfect place to stop and grab a gift for those fellow beer lovers.
List of beers on tap 2/26/17.
List of beers Exception(Ale) currently has on tap can be found on their website: http://exgrowlers.com/currently-on-tap/
Exception(Ale) Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/exceptionalegrowlers/
Exception(Ale) did not compensate me for this review or to visit, this is based solely on my experience.
*All Beer facts were obtained from Exception(Ale)’s current beers on tap web-page.