Wine and cheese is a common pairing, but a Fort Collins cheese maker is teaming up with local breweries to offer beer and cheese.
Fort Collins-based Mouco Cheese Company and Odell Brewing Co. have teamed up to offer beer drinkers a taste of cheeses with their brews.
Amanda Johnson-King, Odell's press coordinator, said the brewery got the idea to offer some snacks with their beers from customers who filled out survey cards in the taproom and asked for a food option.
In addition to the cheese, Odell has also started offering Fort Collins-based Nita Crisp Artisan Flatbread and Boulder-based chocolate manufacturer Chocolove products in the taproom to go with their beers.
Odell has previously worked with all three of the companies before in terms of special events and brewing with the Chocolove, so it made sense to start offering their products in the tap room, Johnson-King said.
"It's been awesome," Johnson-King said. "It (cheese) is actually a really great paring and a lot more craft beer and foodie sites are getting into the paring. Wine contrasts with cheese whereas the beer enhances the cheese flavor."
Odell started offering the local snacks two weeks ago for $3 to $6, and Johnson-King said thus far they have been a hit.
Robert Poland, co-founder of MouCo Cheese Company, said they initially attempted to take the traditional route of getting their cheeses into wineries but didn't have much success.
Instead, Poland returned to his roots with beer. Before starting the cheese company, Poland worked at New Belgium Brew-ing Co. for 10 years running the fermentation department. In that time he became friends with Doug Odell, owner of Odell Brewing Co.
Three years ago, Odell invited Poland to Washington D.C. to pair his cheese with Odell's beers and from there the idea bloomed.
"Doug opened my eyes to do events," Poland said. ""Beer and cheese pairing is one of the hottest thing going. Potentially, beer is even a better paring (than wine) because the carbonation is scrubbing the pallet."
Odell is not alone; other micro-breweries in the region have caught on to the beer cheese pairing idea. Equinox Brewing Co., Funwerks and Left Hand Brewing Co. in Longmont all carry Mouco cheeses.
"The last six months it has just been such an amazing trend," Poland said. "Initially we wanted to pair with wine bars because that’s what you do initially, but now it is the breweries because they do not have a kitchen."
For more see Saturday's Coloradoan.