The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a star.
-Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
If the discovery of a new dish is ultimately so important, than the discovery of a new food and beverage pairing is at least worthy of some merit. I'll let you be the judge.
The combination of which I speak? Hefe weizen with blue cheese mashed potatoes and pork chops. I challenge anyone to come up with a better beverage pairing than this one. But in order to understand the pairing, let me first explain the preparation.
The pork chops were prepared very simply, by searing it on both sides and throwing the pan into the oven until done. Since I bought the meat from Virginia Goeke of Rainbow Homestead, who has some of the best animal husbandry practices, I knew the pork would be delicious and ... well, taste like pork. It did. It had a porky and savory quality that was just wonderful.
The mashed potatoes were made from ones we received from our CSA (Tipi Produce), which were grown by other organic farmers in Wisconsin (I can't seem to find my newsletter from that week... sorry for not receiving credit!). The potatoes were boiled in water and then mashed with butter, milk, and a smoky blue cheese from Oregon. To give credit where credit is due, SC was entirely responsible for the superlative quality of this dish.
The cheese is aptly named "Smokey Blue" and it's from the Rogue Creamery. The cheese has the most voluptuous creamy texture and is accentuated a distinct smoky hazelnut taste. This cheese is simply phenomenal. I picked it up at Larry's Market in Milwaukee.
This cheese imparts an extra creamy flavor and texture to the potatoes, and the smoke gives it a smoky, nutty flavor as well.
Some snap peas from our CSA were lightly blanched and served along the side.
By itself, this is a good meal. Healthy, balanced, and delicious. With a hefe weizen from the Capital Brewery (Kloster Weizen), this meal was absurd. The beer offers two very useful flavors: yeast and malt. The roasted, malted flavors latch effortlessly onto the roasted pork. Neither the big flavor of the meat, nor the strawberry sauce, overwhelmed the surprisingly robust lager. The strawberry sauce only accentuated the match, providing a bit of sweetness that matched up with the subtle initial sweetness of the beer before providing a contrast with the bitter hops.
The mashed potatoes matched perfectly. The earthy flavors clasped onto the honest malted flavors of the beer. Meanwhile, the cream and smoke found a perfect match in the yeast flavor. The combination made me laugh out loud. Really. You have to try this one.
The beer was sufficiently spritzy that it cleansed the palate and allowed me taste each element of the dish without overwhelming any of them.
I don't know how much the discovery of this combination does for the happiness of mankind, but it sure made me happy with a great meal.