Roelli Red Rock Cheese

Roelli Red Rock Cheese

Roelli Red Rock CheeseThe Roelli family emigrated from Switzerland to Wisconsin in the early 1920's. Three generations of the Roelli family ran the cheese operation, building it into a commodity cheddar cheese producer. The economy shut the factory down in 1991. The founder's great grandson Chris Roelli reopened a small artisan cheese factory, the Roelli Cheese Haus Factory, in 2006 on the corner of highways 11 and 23 6 miles east of Shullsberg Wisconsin.

Roelli Red Rock Cheese is a bloomy rind cheddar with periodic blue cheese veins that look like a 10 penny nail pierced into the cheese. The cheese is firm and square with a funky, moldy, grayish brown bloomy rind with traces of green that looks like it was excavated from an archaeological site. The smell has some nutty cheddar notes joined by a light, funky blue cheese tang. The cheese starts fruity, nutty and tangy on the tongue and as it dissolves a bit of crystalline crunch and a trace of grit comes through. The blue cheese element is there but not overboard and not enough to drowned out the aged cheddar notes. There is a little bitter on the finish. I am having this with a HammerHeart Weltanwanderer, a Ommengang 3 Philosophers with Rioelli Red Rock CheeseBamberg-style Rauchbier (5.5% alcohol by volume) that brings some smoky, bacon notes to the table and it marries beautifully with the cheese's cheddar, nutty and blue cheese notes. I also tried Roelli Red Rock Cheese with Ommegang Three Philosophers - a blend of Belgian quadruple and Belgian kriek (wild fermented cherry flavored beer) aged in bourbon barrels. This beer also has the stones to stand up to a strong cheese like Roelli Red Rock and brings flavors that add to the cheese such as bourbon, vanilla, cherry, dried fruit, and dark malt notes - all flavors you might put on a plate with the cheese. The Roelli Red Rock is a US Cheese Championship Winner and is a perfect companion for big bold beer. I rate it 85. The pairing with the HammerHeart Weltanwanderer is an 87 and the Ommegang Three Philosophers aged in bourbon barrels is a 90. The Ommegang gets a couple more points than the HammerHeart due to its richer malt flavors and marvelous bourbon notes.

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