Jasper Hill Creamery Willoughby
Plougate Creamery created Willoughby but the creamery ceased production after a fire in 2011. With permission of the former creator, Jasper Hill Creamery has resurrected Willoughby, a washed rind semi-soft pasteurized cow's milk cheese. The cheese is round and plump with a yellowish orange crust and a white to beige interior with occasional eyes. The aroma has some sweat, earthiness, and a hint of baby diaper augmented with meat, onions, herbs and cream. The buttery, creamy, mushroom flavors are tamer than the aroma with mild onion, nut, salt, and meat notes joined by a light tang on the finish.
I am drinking an Ommegang Three Philosophers (9.5% alcohol by volume) a big Belgian quad with cherry aged in bourbon barrels and the beer brings everything to the table that the cheese would want for a pairing. The beer's cherry and bourbon fit right in and the beer also brings dark dried fruit flavors, rich malts and big alcohol that play nicely with the cheese's creamy, meaty, mushroom flavors. The cheese's tang adds depth to the beer while the beer tones done the funk and lifts up the cheese's other flavors. The pairing has me thinking of a dark bourbon cake with cherries and cream cheese in the middle. This cheese and this beer are a perfect way to spend an autumn afternoon. The cheese rates 90, the beer pushes 95 as does the pairing.