Today’s project, for those of us that drink, is to try 1554 Black Lager with it’s food pairing suggestions, which consist of barbecue or pot roast, and fontina and camembert cheeses. If you don’t or shouldn’t drink for any number of reasons try pairing the same foods with a fancy Root Beer.
There’s a “Beer Challenge List” app on Facebook that I’m quite sure this beer was on when I decided I was going to try it, cause I dunno where else I would’ve come across it, but it’s now conspicuously missing from the list. I suspect that whoever made the list thinks it’s out of production because at the time it was called 1554 Enlightened Black Ale, but from all indications I can find, including the source of the name, it’s the same thing. They should’ve kept the old name, it was cuter, but maybe I’m the only one who worries about cute when choosing beer. Anyhow, when I pulled beers to try from the list I decided to go all fancy and try them with recommended food pairings.. like wine pairings except more blue collar. Or hipster. I dunno.
1554 is brewed by New Belgium, and according to the label “A Belgian book from 1554 would inspire this Black Lager recipe. Brewed back to life, 1554 immediately made fans with its surprisingly light taste and dry, chocolatey finish.” Their website expands on that tale saying in 1997, a Fort Collins flood destroyed the original recipe their researcher found in the library. So said researcher and his fellow brewmaster traveled to Belgium “to retrieve this unique style lost to the ages. Their first challenge was deciphering antiquated script and outdated units of measurement, but trial and error (and many months of in-house sampling) culminated in 1554, a highly quaffable dark beer with a moderate body and mouthfeel.” Beer Critic review sites seem to give it a consistent 3.8 out of 5 stars.
I was fully prepared with my 6 pack of 1554, my fontina, camembert, and a run to the only barbecue place I’ve ever found that I liked for a brisket plate (that is a brisket sandwich that I took the top bun off of for photographing, with Kansas City sauce, a pickle, mac ‘n cheese, and cornbread with honey butter that I forgot to put in the picture cause it wasn’t part of the pairing list.) Rather than get drunk trying a fresh bottle with everything while I still need to finish reading The Zookeeper’s Wife for tomorrow I decided to pop a bottle and try a bite of everything to see how things went. I tried a solo unaffiliated mouthful first to get an idea of what the beer was like. As far as comparing it to the major national beers out there it reminded me of Budweiser, but I’m sure it’s better than that. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a Budweiser and I’m only just beginning my journey as a beer connoisseur.
I decided I’d try it with the non-recommended pairings first, the corn bread and the mac ‘n cheese get a thumbs up. The pickle, while amazing on its own, definitely was not meant to be friends with this beer. The brisket and the fontina cheese were both fantastic with the lager. Then I opened up the camembert.
Camembert is not supposed to be a blue cheese. I would not eat a blue cheese. I don’t know if I’ve ever had camembert before but having googled it it was a nice golden yellow color… this is white and blue. I read the label and it includes the inexplicable ingredient “Vegetable Ash.” I don’t know what that means, I don’t know what that is, I don’t know if it’s blue, I don’t know why it’s on cheese, I took a sniff of it and omigod that is a vile substance, so it has been rewrapped and found it’s way into the trash bag. I hate to waste food, every part of my father that lives in my blood and subconscious is screaming at me that you don’t waste food, but I’m not putting that in my mouth, and I dunno any animal that deserved to have it tested on. So there will be no camembert pairings in my life today.
I’m always a little perplexed by beers and wines that claim to have a chocolatey finish, I never quite taste it, but really as far as beers go, this is one I’d go back for, and I can’t say that about all beers I’ve encountered (good thing since I’ve got 5 more.) I’d actually probably even beat the critics and give it a 4.5 out of 5. I’m partial to wheat beers in general, but if I’m gonna go with a dark this is a good one to go with, I enjoyed it and the pairings are spot on. Let me know what you think of it if you make it happen. If not, still make that pot roast or brisket, it’s the weekend, have some warm comfort food in the house.
A word about music: We include songs for a reason. Music helps us deal with the world, helps to soothe the soul, and gives us something else we can focus on when everything is too much. Listen to the songs we post. Even if you already know them. Listen to them like you don’t. Pay attention to the lyrics. Pay attention to what the instruments are telling you. They all have a message, they all have a purpose, they’re all chosen for a reason. If you like the song, please support the artist by purchasing the MP3 or Album that features it.
Today’s music can be found on Amazon.com:
(Note the YouTube version is NOT Garth Brooks and George Jones – Garth doesn’t let his studio recordings appear on YouTube and I couldn’t find a live version. But I already had my heart set on the song. The links below are the real deal.)
MP3: Beer Run (The duet with George Jones)