Wine, Cheese & Beer Pairing at Brix at the Shore
We all know I have a life long love for Long Beach’s Belmont Shore. I grew up going down to the water as my Aunt lived at ‘The Shore’, I have lived there, spent wonderful times with family & friends on their main drag, 2nd Street & even walked the streets at 4 in the morning as a Stripper (acting in a friends film, I swear). Despite years of memories, I just discovered its best kept secret:
Between 2nd & Claremont Street, they have their very own ‘Adult Amusement Park’! 😉
Don’t jump to conclusions, but, that is how owner Rick Reich, describes his eclectic, lively restaurant & wine bar, Brix. Having never experienced this one of a kind dining adventure, you somehow feel that perhaps you have left the shore & sunshine yet have ended up in the gritty, deep streets of New York. Maybe. Or, it could just be Rick’s Brooklyn roots coming out!
I got to have a wonderful afternoon at Brix recently while learning about wine, beer & cheese pairing. While Brix is pouring some of the best wines from Italy to Lodi, California & IPA’s from Belgium, all accompanied with a killer menu, they often team up with neighbors, Cheese Addiction (conveniently located right next door), to bring together the tight-knit shore community for weekends learning about how much it is overlooked to bust out beer just as much as you do wine to make some outstanding pairs with your fresh cheeses.
Thanks to Belgium, many cheeses are actually better when paired with beer. Who knew?! Cheese Addiction shop owner, Lisa Abonese, was marvelous at teaching us just how delicate cheese is to pair, & some great facts about cow, goat & sheep’s cheese.
While, alas, the beers were off-limits for me, Rick was so kind to offer me up their gluten-free beer, called Brunehaut. Having never heard of this Belgian favorite, I quickly learned that it resembled a true, wheat based brew so much so, because Belgium is the real deal for all beers. Rick serves up many, & its easy to see why.
They also know that pairing their beers with semi-soft cheeses is a true match made in heaven, given that beer & cheese often share something in similarity….if you’re scratching your head, stop. I don’t think you will guess this one: what beer & cheese have in common is: grass!
Barley is a cereal grass, which is a prominent factor in brewing beer, while grass is a by-product of milk since cows graze on it. Crazy connection, right? But, it seems to work as beer & cheese tasting is on the rise to rival the more traditional wine & cheese marriage.
Our mission was awesome: Sip your wine, take a bite of the cheese, take another sip of wine. Then, again, but, a chosen beer next instead of right to a new varietal.
As far as the wine & cheeses I was thrilled to taste, each one out did the last. Our ’14 Colonnara from France was exquisite with Cana de Oveja, an Italian sheep’s cheese. While the wine was fruity, bright, I honestly was not a fan at first sip. Yet, post bite of cheese? It was easily my favorite white of the day. It’s truly amazing to taste the magic that can occur when pairing. For you beer drinkers, the suggested pair with this cheese was Blanche de Bruxelles from, once again, Belgium.
Of the 5 pairings, the wine & cheese that most stood out was the 5th & final; ’11 Saved Red Blend from Lodi, California, paired with Cambozola Black Label cheese, from German cow’s milk. Aged 6 months, this treat had earthy blue tones & a nutty, butter flavor. As for the amazing glass of Saved? Get ready, folks. This Zinfandel red blend boasts: 31% Zinfandel, 23% Carignane, 12% Petite Sirah, 11% Malbec, 10% Merlot, 9% Petit Verdot, 2% Mixed Blacks, 1% Ruby Cabernet and 1% Syrah from a who’s who list of regions in California: 28% Monterey, 18% Dry Creek, 15% Mendocino, 16% Alexander Valley, 11% Oakville, 4% Sonoma Valley, 4% California, 3% San Louis Obispo and 1% Russian River Valley.
Holy cow, right?! 😉
As for the rest of this decadent, bold pairings, the remaining 3 were:
2013 Westerly Fletcher’s White Blend, Santa Barbara with Central Coast Cheddar (CA goat based) & Mayberry IPA from El Segundo, CA.
2014 Dom Cristia Grenache-Syrah, Ventoux, France, paired with Chebris French ewe & goat cheese, & Dupont Saison from Belgium.
2012 Shattered Grenache, Maurey, France, Oorsprung gouda (Dutch cow) & Men’s Room red ale from Washington.