Briar Rose's Lorelei: Goat Cheese ♥'s Beer
Awakening this blog from a deep winter slumber induced by holiday wine retail frenzy, the launching of my cheese club, backs being thrown out, sneaky asthma, and being caught flightless in New York City during Polar Vortex I (but in what a wonderful place to be caught) is Briar Rose's Lorelei. Could be the best possible way to emerge from hibernation in the history of, well, …. emerging from hibernation.
Lorelei is a beer-washed goat's milk cheese with a rich flavor alternating between bacon and freshly baked, yeasty bread whose texture lends itself to being thickly spread on a baguette. It's named after German river siren with a reputation for luring sailors to their doom (crashing their ships into rocks) with her song (noted, said sailors may have heard wailing wind and also been slightly tipsy).
Ever since I shared a basket of fried pork rinds and a cup of sweet tea with cheesemaker Sarah Marcus in North Carolina at the American Cheese Society conference, I had an eye on this creamery. I had earlier heard about the magic of her goat cheese and chocolate truffles a year or so prior, but because Briar Rose was so small production, I couldn't get my hands on her other cheeses to try in California. Back then she was mainly dealing with fresh goat's milk cheeses, and didn't age any, or as many of her creations.
But now, man oh man does she age her cheese.
Woman knows her way around a cheese cave. The maker of such beauties as Freya's Wheel, Madrona, and Iris, Sarah Marcus launched Briar Rose in 201o in Willamette Valley, Oregon. Before Oregon, Marcus worked at the Cowgirl Creamery cheese shop, and spent time in England learning about Ticklemore (Freya's a beautiful nod to this cheese). She started making Lorelei March of 2013.
It is from local dairy Tideland Dairy Goats from Tillamook, Oregon that Marcus gets her goat's milk. And it is from the alfalfa growing on the coastal hills of Tillamook that the goats get their nourishment. Oh, Oregon goat cheese...
After Marcus gets the milk, she pasteurizes it, adds cultures and rennet, lets it set, then cuts the curd. From there, the curds go into robbiola-style square molds. They're left to firm, then are later salted and put on racks. A week later, she starts washing Lorelei down with Steam Fire Stout from Fire Mountain, a brewery ten miles from the creamery where Brewmaster Henry brews in a garage where he used to build three to four-person planes. Lorelei is doused with Steam Fire three to four time a week for around three weeks, then sent out the door.
I prefer Lorelei older- about six to eight weeks. Its then that it gets a little more sultry, softer around the edges, and easier to spread on a baguette. Marcus loves Lorelei with a beer related to its creation like a stout, porter, or nut brown ale. Agreed on this end too. If pairing with a wine, try with lightly yeasty, but mineral and un-oaked Muscadet made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape from the Loire Valley. Or maybe Harper Voight's Pinot Blanc from Oregon.
Marcus's cheese can be found around the west coast, in select stores nationwide, and ordered directly from the source.
Next posts- upcoming events, and.. a guest post from the wonderful Alexandra Cooks!