Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Recap of Kalamazoo Beer Exchange featuring The Cheese Lady and Stone Brewing Company

Written by  Angela Steil
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After an excruciating battle with traffic, I was rewarded for my patience by attending the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange for a special event featuring Kelly St. Louis from The Cheese Lady and Mitch Steele, the head brewer from Stone Brewing Company. During this particular evening at the Exchange, attendees and I enjoyed 7 courses of finely paired beers and cheeses.
Throughout the event, St. Louis and Steele made there way from table to table to chat with guests and answer questions. The vibe overall was quite amicable and the timing between each pairing allowed for excellent conversation and networking. As for the pairings themselves, they were as follows:

First Course: Oaked Arrogant Bastard paired with Beemster Extra

Second Course: Imperial Russian stout paired with Roquefort

Third Course: Old Guardian Barleywine paired with Shaft’s Goldmine Blue

Fourth Course: Saison paired with Mobay

Fifth Course: Smoked Porter paired with Cave Aged Gruyere

Sixth Course: Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA paired with Aged Mahon

Seventh Course: Ruination IPA paired with Young Mahon

Palate cleansers consisting of grapes, melon, and bread were placed in front of us guests, but the pairings were so spot on that these palate cleaners were hardly needed. Strong emphasis on cutting power and contrast was apparent, and it was a nice surprise to find out that these delicious pairings came about almost as a whim. The cheeses were chosen first and then a member at Stone suggested the beers that were to be served along with them. The items had not been together beforehand but they got along like they had been working together for years. One of the most intriguing pairings for me was the Saison with Mobay. The resonance with those two was so utterly perfect that it felt as though they were made exactly for each other.

Last but not least, guests could purchase or bring their well used book, IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale and get it signed by the author himself, Mitch Steele. Not wanting to miss out, I purchased a copy myself and spoke a bit with Mitch as he signed the book.

All in all this was a delightful and educational event. Thank you Kalamazoo Beer Exchange for hosting, and for those of you who have not been there before, check out their website for more information about future fun beer savvy events.

Angela Steil

Angela Steil

Angela Steil is a Certified Cicerone® who returned to Grand Rapids, Michigan after spending three years studying in New York City and Los Angeles. Engaged as a writer in the beer world, Angela is an educator for those who wish to know more about all things beer, and coordinates beer and food pairings and dinners premised on sensory reward for the adventurous and curious. She is a producer of the finest pairing of all: quality beer and conversation. 
Angela is currently studying for the BJCP exam and Master Cicerone exam from which she expects to advocate and educate for the craft beer community internationally. Besides beer, she enjoys burlesque shows and comedy of all varieties. And cats. 
You can check out more of her work at