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Lucy Saunders
4230 N. Oakland #178
Shorewood WI
53211 USA
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Chip Tate, home brewer and cheesemaker, talks about putting beer IN cheese

"I've never made a cheese that was rind washed with beer, but I've made some pseudo-monastic styles that incorporated some beer in with the milk for hard cheese," says Chip Tate, a former brewer in Waco, TX. "Beer does tend to soften the curd a little, but adds a nice flavor that becomes more pronounced the warmer the curd is when it is drained - as far as the degree to which the malt character of the beer is imparted to the cheese; hoppier beers will leave a pleasant bitterness in the cheese that seems to be less dependent on temperature."

I am reminded of the lovely hops-wrapped semi-soft cheeses of England, aged in a layer of fresh hops.

Tate makes raw milk cheddars mostly, but has also dabbled in harder cheeses like very old Montasio and other Italian-style grating cheeses. "As for affinage, I do have some experience but only enough to know that aging and maturing cheese is much more of an art than a science. I made multiple rounds of hard cheese that came from the same milk, the same curd and were aged even on the same shelf of the cellar and had notably different characters and rates of maturation. Other than basic "care of good cheese" practices (proper temperature, humidity, regular turning and inspection, etc.), I have taken the taste and see approach."

Tate has plenty of company among professional cheesemakers: the Rogue Creamery in Oregon makes a Rogue Chocolate Stout Cheddar, and the Brovetto Cheese Co. of Jefferson NY makes an almost Taleggio style cheese with Ommegang ales.

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