Sunday 15 February 2009

Beer and Cheese 1: Dorothy Goodbody’s Wholesome Stout

Today comes the first of a series of beer and cheese pairings to try different beers with a range of different cheeses to see what works with what. The possibilities are endless.

Today’s, the first, takes CAMRA’s choice for the 2008 Bottled Beer of the Year: Dorothy Goodbody’s Wholesome Stout from Wye Valley Brewery. It’s a 4.6% stout and very good indeed. It’s smooth, gluggable, full of fantastic roasted grain flavours, chocolate and coffee with a lingering dry hoppy finish.

It’s got a really cool logo with the voluptuous pin-up of Dorothy draped across it. The beer itself is pretty sexy too; dark, enticing, complex and full of flavour. The bottle says it’s good with cheeses, but doesn’t mention specifics, so this little impromptu tasting was to see how it worked with a few cheeses that I had in the fridge. I hadn’t tried the beer out of the bottle and I hadn’t tried it with any of the cheeses before I recorded it, so it was all off the cuff.

The Brie was creamy and mild but the beer did nothing to enhance the flavours, and what you most want is for the match of cheese and beer to lift off into a new direction, not lie flaccid and flat and skirt around each other awkwardly.

The sharp, creamy goats’ cheese was much better: the cheese is full of goaty punch and the beer sweeps in and lifts the palate with plenty of sweetness while the cheese still lingers throughout. This was a surprisingly good match.

The mature cheddar was Black Bomber from Snowdonia Cheese Company, and it’s fantastically strong, tangy and rich. The match was okay but not great; the cheese is probably too much for the beer to handle and the beer doesn’t get its chance to shine.

The Colston Basset stilton is one of my favourite cheeses there is. It’s creamy, smooth, strong and delicious. It worked really well with the stout, softening the coffee roast flavour and bringing out the sweetness within. And eating this after, with some crackers, it was an even better combo.

The final cheese was thrown in as a Valentine’s special - a white stilton with strawberries and white chocolate. It’s almost unpalatably sweet, kind of crazy, mainly full of strawberry flavour with the mildly sharp stilton underneath. It’s interesting. But it did work fairly well with the stout. The strawberry and chocolate paired up and the cheese and the roast flavours danced around a bit.

I say in the video that the goats’ cheese works best, but when I tried them all again after it was the stilton which I enjoyed the most. The best thing about this was the actual beer itself. It’s a really great bottled stout. And while none of the matches were amazing, there were some good ones.


  1. One of the nation's finest stouts IMHO. And even better if you're lucky enough to find it in cask at a beer festival.

    ...Mmmm you've got me wanting one now - and it's not even 10am on Monday morning!

  2. Old Dorothy is a fine lady indeed! I've only had the pleasure of her off cask once but it certainly was a memorable beer.

    I was surprised just how well it translated to the bottle.

  3. A little update...

    I just tried these cheese with a bottle of Traquair's House Ale. The Brie was rubbish, the goat was great, the cheddar just about stood up to it and the stilton rocked as a combo. The beer is full of dried fruit sweetness and is damn good with the strength of the cheese.