A Trio of Ferments at Stoudt’s
In Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the Stoudts are an enterprising family — at Stoudt’s Brewery and Wonderful Good Market, they make beer, bread, and cheese. Over the weekend, I joined cheesemaker Elizabeth Stoudt to pair these three ferments and lead a tasting class. The focus was on October flavors — it happened to the weekend of their Oktoberfest (lots of lederhosen in the house!), and we drew on local products from around Lancaster to round out the tasting.
The amazing Phoebe Canakis, blogger and doer extraordinaire, set the table and provided the sundries. Elizabeth cut into a selection of cheeses, including a rare wheel of Elderbritch — her signature cheese. And guests sipped Stoudt’s beer, from light to dark, while munching away on homemade bread. It’s hard to think of a more perfect place to host a tasting.
There were even pretzels, warm from the oven, to cleanse the palate at the end.
Lo, I haven’t even mentioned the labyrinth of antique-bauble stalls that line the way from the brewery to the bakery. Stoudt’s is the only place I know of where you can drink beer, eat cheese, and try on rhinestone rings. My kinda place.
Two Pairings to Try at Home
If you weren’t at the tasting, you can still benefit by recreating a couple dreamy duos at home. Just remember that the key to any beer-and-cheese pairing is balance, and on Saturday we definitely worked the salty -vs.-malty angle. Dark beer, like Stoudt’s Fat Dog, is a perfect foil for salty cheeses like Chiriboga Blue. Paired with some Stoudt’s dark bread and a shmear of locally made cherry marmalade, this combo was one of my favorites.
1. Malty Meets Salty
- Start with a rich, full-bodied stout, like Stoudt’s Fat Dog Imperial Oatmeal
- Pair with a lush salty Bavarian blue, like Chiriboga Blue
- Serve dark bread and preserves, like Christina Maser’s Sour Cherry Marmalade
2. Sweet Meets Smoky
- Start with Stoudt’s Abbey Triple, or a similar unfiltered Belgian ale with honey notes
- Pair smoked Swiss, like Stoudt’s Smoked Lady Bel — it’s gently smoked over apple wood
- Serve Stoudt’s Pumpkin Apple Beer Bread, or a yeasted pumpkin bread
A big thanks to everyone at Saturday’s cheese and beer tasting!