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beer and cheese

A few days ago Gaius took me out to a Murray’s Cheese Shop Windy City Brews & American Cheese class for my birthday. We experienced seven awesome pairings of Goose Island beer with cheeses and chocolate.

Our instructors were Greg Hall and Taylor Cocalis. Greg is a brewmaster and son of the President of Goose Island Brewery in Chicago. He told great stories about how his different beers have come to be. My favorite was the story of Pere Jacques, who inspired the GI beer appropriately named… Pere Jacques. It was one of my favorite beers of the night and the story only made the tasting all the sweeter. Another beer that I now am mildly obsessed with is the GI Bourbon County Stout. This is a beer that I will only be able to sip and enjoy, it’s flavors so complex that I forget it’s “just beer”. Taylor Cocalis is Murray’s marketing/PR/cheese-lover extraordinaire. Not only did she keep up with making cheese stories riveting, but the pairings that she made with Greg were delicious. I hope to one day have a palate as refined as these two! Out of Taylor’s picks, I loved the Sweet Grass Dairy Blue the most.

The cheeses and beers were scrumptious but the entire experience was delectable. After the class was over, we stayed chatting with the gang. We were given a bottle of Sophie (named after Greg’s daughter) signed by Greg himself. When I expressed that this was my birthday present, a sweet Murray’s employee named Mindy added a bottle of the Bourbon County Stout. When in conversation Gaius and I mentioned we were getting married in a few weeks, we also got thrown a bottle of Pere Jacques and a bottle of Harvest Ale. They also threw a bunch of the leftover cheese pieces to not go to waste which ended up being perfect for my birthday finger food potluck party I was having the very next day!

Overall, I had a blast. Am really crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to find something similar in Miami now.