Roundtop Farm Natural Rind Tomme & Manayunk Dreamin’ Double IPA.
If anyone can make people feel like putting down their smartphones and tablets for a while and appreciate what nature has given us, it’s a farmer. There is a growing farmer fantasy of moving far away from the city and creating things using only earth and water, maybe a few animals, and not having to live in the hustle and bustle of the ‘real world.’ Such is the life of Roundtop Farm in Honey Brook, PA, which has absolutely no internet presence: no website, no Facebook, no Twitter account.
But they do have cheese. And Melvin Stoltzfus’ sheep make some delicious cheese. Take, for instance, his Natural Rind Tomme (in contrast to last issue’s Washed-Rind Tomme), which is a lesson in contrasts. If you give it a big whiff, the rind smells of blueish mold, a super-funk that will make you think you’re about to bite into some runny French cheese that’s more blue than white. When you bite into it, however, you get something completely different. You find an understated flavor, one that starts earthy—almost like delicious dirt—that sparks a few fruity notes on the back of your tongue before being swallowed. Imagine picking up a strawberry from the ground and not wiping it off before taking a bite.
And now, wash it down with Manayunk Brewing Company’s Dreamin’ Double IPA. The brewpub, which has been holding down Main Street in Manayunk for almost 20 years, has improved its output over the last few years thanks to head brewer Doug Marchakitus. Manayunk has also recently begun to distribute cans of beer, which just so happens to include the fruity, yet delightfully bitter beer that we’re pairing.
Inhale the beer deeply—remember that dirty strawberry we mentioned? It seems to have found its way into the beer, and the fruitiness of this IPA pairs perfectly well with that of the cheese. And then you have the contrast: the bitter hoppiness of the IPA cuts right through that earthiness of the cheese, livening it up and making the whole combination a complex delight of fruity, bitter umami.
This pairing is perfect for a fading season and the transition from summer into fall. If you’re dealing with warm days and cool nights, this will bridge the gap. You have a fruit element that will bring to mind the summertime, while the warming bitterness and soil-like flavors will bring to mind falling leaves and fall weather. Put on your flannel shirt—but pair it with shorts—as you enjoy this pairing. The Dreamin’ Double IPA should be available at any bottle shop of note, while you can find the Natural Rind Tomme at the Fair Food Farmstand at Reading Terminal. Whether you’re sad summer is leaving or excited autumn is on its way, this is the pairing that will help you transition.
Philly Beer Scene is hosting FREE Beer and Cheese Samplings
Every 3rd Thursday of the month, from 3-5pm at the Fair Food Farmstand in Reading Terminal Market.