Thursday started off with car trouble and no breakfast. For lunch, I had Kocurek Family Charcuterie duck bacon and some Full Quiver Colby with a slice of tomato. At dinnertime, I attended the Slow Food Austin Member Appreciation Happy Hour, which was a beer and cheese pairing at 512 Brewing Company, featuring Antonelli’s Cheese Shop. Karla Loeb, social chair of Slow Food, really had the table set beautifully.
I’ve been to several cheese tastings with the Antonelli’s, so I knew the drill – the cheese is tasted clockwise starting from the top.
They had printed up a menu of sorts, showing which beers were to be paired with the cheeses. This is always a nice touch, and I save them for future reference.
The first pairing, was Mt. St. Francis, Washed Goat Cheese with the 512 Wit. I really enjoyed the pairing of this strong flavored cheese with the wheat beer. The second pairing was Ascutney Mountain Cow Cheese with the IPA. This Indian Pale Ale has become one of the largest sellers for 512. Kevin did an amazing job (as always) of detailing how the beer is brewed, and I learned that 512 uses all organic fruit in their brewing and is dedicated to using local and sustainable produce where available. This cheese was amazing, and I can’t wait to have it again. I really liked the pairing as well. Next up, was Hoch Ybrig Cow Cheese and 512 Bruin, a Fall Seasonal dark beer. John encouraged us to eat the rind of the cheeses, which were all natural. The rind of this cheese tasted like chocolate, so we saved some to go with the next beer the Pecan Porter, which was paired with the Stichelton, a Blue Cow’s cheese. I loved the story of how the Pecan Porter came to be. Kevin explained that when the brewery was being built, the construction workers were often seen in front of the building eating. He didn’t know what they were eating, or that there was a large productive pecan tree on the property. They were eating pecans! So, the inspiration for the pecan porter was from the tree in front of the building, and 512 has worked with Austinuts for the pecans for this beer, since.
It was a really fun night, and I love hearing about cheese from someone with as much passion and knowledge as John Antonelli has. His energy is contagious, which is why I visit Antonelli’s Cheese Shop as often as possible. Kevin has always been so welcoming at 512 and I’ve been fortunate to have attended several events there. He likewise is passionate about the beers they brew, and I love going out there.
The saying at the bottom of our pairing, summed up the evening.
“Culture. Knowledge. Community.” Perfect.