AltBitter with Fontal and Valdeon Cheeses Pairing

AltBitter with Fontal and Valdeon Cheeses
AltBitter with Fontal and Valdeon Cheeses

The Players

AltBitter, a collaboration beer between Deschutes Brewery and Widmer Brothers Brewing, is a blend of imperial rye whiskey barrel-aged versions of Bachelor Bitter and Widmer Brothers’ Altbier.

Fontal is a semi-firm, pasteurized cow’s milk cheese with a pale straw color. It has a mild, nutty flavor, that is almost sweet with a touch of tartness.

Valdeon is a bold and spicy blue made from the combined milks of goat and cow. Densely veined and balanced notes of salt and spice.

The Field

The AltBitter presents an unique flavor profile that refuses easy categorization, much like a beer itself. Barrel aging characteristics of vanilla, charred wood, and whiskey sugars form the heft of the aroma. The taste is a progressive cascade of rye whiskey, vanilla, barrel wood, and caramel. I thoroughly cherish a well-crafted barrel-aged ale, so you can imagine my pleasure with each sip of the AltBitter.

The Game

The AltBitter is a perfect in-betweener for two such distinct cheeses. The ale has the crispness and dark fruit to bring out the Fontal, while it is deep enough to stand with the Valdeon. The creaminess of the blue is particularly enjoyable, but then again, I love the stringer, stinkier cheeses.