Spring Goat Cheeses and Maibock Beers: Toast to the Goats!

This spring, try two of America’s best seasonal offerings: goat cheese and goat-inspired beer.
By Tabitha Alterman
February/March 2011
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Ring in this spring with an artisan-made goat cheese or microbrewed maibock beer. 

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Thanks to a booming interest in responsibly and lovingly made foods, the American cheese and beer scenes are flourishing. Brewers and cheesemakers across the country are dreaming up amazing stuff you’ll want to try. In that spirit of excitement, we bring you this new section featuring a select few standouts around the country. To help you find similar products close to home, check out How to Find Local Food and Farmers for a list of resources. And when you do find incredible foods near you, we want to hear about them! E-mail your suggestions to RealFood@MotherEarthNews.com with the subject line “Local Food Nomination.” Or nominate your favorites online or on Facebook.

Early spring is the ideal time to indulge in creamy goat cheeses and seasonal maibock beers, which are traditionally brewed in the dead of winter in anticipation of the coming spring. “Bock,” the name of the German beer style, also happens to mean “billy goat,” and having been brewed under the sign of the goat (Capricorn), it’s fitting that bubbly maibocks pair beautifully with zesty goat cheeses. With so many terrific options available, you’re sure to find a favorite springtime pairing of your own.

Gorgeous Goat Cheeses

Cheesemakers across the country are working magic on goat milk to bring us flavors as varied as lavender and fennel pollen (Purple Haze), sarsaparilla (Hoja Santa), ash (Haystack Peak) and pink peppercorns (Petit Bonheur).

Haystack Peak
Haystack Mountain
Longmont, Colo.
Shaped like its name, this tiny mountain of soft snow (the bloomy rind) covers a creamy, delicious interior.

Hoja Santa
Mozzarella Company
Named after the root beer plant leaf it’s wrapped in, Hoja Santa (“Holy Leaf”) has the aromas of sarsaparilla and mint. Made with vegetarian rennet, it’s sweet and spicy with a crumbly interior.

Petit Bonheur
Rivers Edge Chevre 
Logsden, Ore.
French for “small happiness,” this tiny, heart-shaped crottin is dotted with pink peppercorns — perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Purple Haze
Cypress Grove
Arcata, Calif.
A blend of wild-harvested fennel pollen and lavender buds lend a delicate, lightly sweet flavor to this tangy goat cheese.

Malty Maibock Beers

Maibocks are generally light to medium-colored and medium-bodied, with a malty richness that’s kept in check by a combination of spicy and floral hops. But, of course, individual brewers will put their own spin on tradition. What’s your local brewery up to this spring? Only one way to find out!

Capital Brewery
Middleton, Wis.
This solidly malty, golden brew is balanced by the flavors and aromas of two popular types of hops: Liberty and Hallertau.

Sierra Brewing
Chico, Calif.
Bright gold and super-mellow, Sierra’s subtle ‘Glissade’ spring bock will help you adjust to warming weather.

Smuttynose Brewing
Portsmouth, N.H.
With a little creative license, the Smuttynose team offers a hugely malty, russet beer made with Sterling hops.

Summit Brewing
St. Paul, Minn.
Summit’s gorgeous orange maibock is brewed with just enough Czech Saaz hops to complement its rich, caramel sweetness.

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