In New England, one of the oldest regions in the United States, a new collaboration and new hoppy flavor has beer lovers everywhere “cheesin’.” Aptly named, “The Perfect Pairing,” Dogfish Head Brewing’s latest brew was devised with the help of Cabot Creamery to provide a beer worthy of a cheesy charcuterie board.
In 1919, 94 farmers came together to form a cooperative, realizing that they were better off working together in dairy than independently. Thus began the foundations for the modern-day Cabot Creamery. Beginning with butter production, the ensuing decades would see the cooperative add cheesemaking to its lineup along with various other dairy products. In 1989, Cabot would win “Best in Class” at the U.S. Championships for Cheese, and “World’s Best Cheddar” in an international competition in 2006. Now, there are over 1,000 folks creating this perfected Vermont cheese— including two very unique agricultural attractions.
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In 1915, Leverette and Myrtle Conant’s barn would burn to the ground due to some mischievous children playing with fire (one can only imagine how long they were grounded). Not to be discouraged, the young couple would rebuild their barn in record time, and during the Great Depression, Myrtle began promoting the barn as a place to stay for tourists seeking a farm-life respite. The Conant’s legacy would be carried on by their daughter-in-law, Gloria, who after losing her husband would not only continue the farm’s daily tasks but also raise six children—and no barns were harmed in the process. Gloria even went on to win “National Dairy Woman of the Year,” and her children now carry on that prize-winning inheritance in the lush valleys of Richmond.
While the Contant’s may have been early adopters of farming while also hosting guests, Bob and Beth Kennett of Liberty Hill farms were pioneers in U.S. “agrotourism”. Lying at the front door of the Green Mountain National Forest, the Kennett’s farm not only produces cheese for Cabot Creamery but also hosts hundreds of visitors and families every year. Purchasing the property in 1984, the family’s farm boasts structures reaching all the way back to 1825 and allows travelers to take in the picturesque landscape from the comforts of a historic farmhouse. Wishing to protect and give back to the land that provides all of their tasty produce, Liberty Hill Farm is the first green-certified agrotourism hotel in Vermont. So while their cheese may be decadently creamy, food from this unique establishment comes guilt-free.
What about the cheese-laden beer, we hear you ask. So let’s dive into how that famed cheese from Liberty Hill and Conant’s farms fits into a pint glass. Whey permeate from the cheesemaking process is added into Dogfish’s malt, giving it a “gulpable” golden color. Adding the whey also serves a functional purpose, adjusting the acidity level of the beer in its fermentation process and intensifying the juiciness of the hop flavor. Creating a sense of fruity citrus, the cheese product lets the beer become the ultimate partner to a plate of sharp cheddar.
While a new addition to the Dogfish Head repertoire, each sip of The Perfect Pairing carries generations of old cheese-making know-how. Not to be cheesy or anything.