When you think “cheese pairings,” what’s the first drink that comes to mind? Is it wine?
Head to Fulton’s North Loop taproom in the near-ish future and you might change your cheesy tune. For the next several weeks, they’ve partnered with Undeniably Dairy to serve special flights of State Fair award-winning cheese paired with their beers, including one brewed just for the lactose-heavy occasion.
Beer and cheese have more in common than you might think: Fulton is among the Twin Cities breweries donating spent grain to dairy farmers, who then feed it to their cows. In fact, a portion of proceeds from these flights are being donated to Brewing a Sustainable Future, which matches breweries with farmers to help them sustainably use this brewing byproduct.
At the same time, dairy byproducts are used in beer; for example, it’s lactose that gives something like a milkshake IPA its creamy body.
“It’s full-circle stuff,” says Fulton brewer Tanner Luke.
As for these dairy pairings themselves: Crisp, refreshing Hop Star goes with the bold funk of St. Pete’s Select Blue Cheese from Caves of Faribault by Prairie Farms, and Whiskey War and Peace, a bold, Irish whiskey cask-aged stout, accompanies the mild and creamy whiskey-washed Redhead Creamery muenster.
Then there’s the brand-new brew, which Luke says is “one of the longest projects he’s ever worked on” as a brewer. Three years have gone into the rosy-pink Brew + Moo Blackberry Sour that pairs with a Land O’ Lakes’ cheddar. “To make a beer like this just takes years,” Luke says. And here again, it comes full circle: The three cultures that sour that beer are cultures that can flavor cheese.
In breweries and on family dairy farms, there’s a focus on sustainability—“It’s really pairing Fulton Brewery and their sustainability story with what we do with sustainability, because we have that in common,” says dairy farmer Margaret Johnson. She runs a farm in Lanesboro Minnesota with her husband, her father-in-law, their four kids, and a group of employees. On their farm, they recycle water several times, and manure from their cows becomes fertilizer for crops. “It’s just what we do every day.”
The beer and cheese flights are available at Fulton while supplies last. And they come served on super-cute boards made with reclaimed pallets—more sustainability stuff—that have their very own little carved-out snack pocket for your cheese. The innovation!
Fulton Brewing Taproom
414 Sixth Ave. N., Minneapolis