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The love of cheese in the House of the Boozy Beggar is known. Oh, it is known. From the cheese plate built on a skeleton for Halloween to 4 cheese homemade pizzas, to my partner practically living on mac n cheese at times, it is a deep staple of our house. I swear, one day, I want to have an interactive map of the cheeses of the Midwest, because I think there's so much to be said for America's cheesemakers right now. Naturally, my love of cheese gooed over into Instagram and the blog even, while working on an event with Pastoral years ago (R.I.P.). There, I discovered @cheesesexdeath and her work to spread the gospel of Cheese. This little "challenge" to start 2020 lined up well with my "I have no idea what to do with the blog anymore" attitude as I started the year. Still not sure what to write about regularly, but uh, cheese works. Expect to see a bunch of cheese pairing posts as I participate in her #CheeseChurchChallenge. The gist below: " All you have to do is try one new cheese every week for 10 weeks, either from a cheese shop, specialty store, or on a plate in a restaurant - as long as you can taste it by its glorious self.

Post your cheese worship to IG, FB, or TW with #CheeseChurchChallenge to show me what you're trying! Can't wait to eat some cheese with you! "

So I decided that Ms Boozy Beggar (aka Altruistic Esthetics, aka Pamela) and myself should instead do pairings. Each week, we'll try a new to us cheese, and when I can, I'll also have a boozy pairing suggestion. Some of them will be pretty wild, like a cocktail even. Now, you can see above, the Cheese Preacher wants you to try it "by its glorious self." That's how I start the pairing process too. I let the cheese rise to room temperature, slice a generous portion off after smelling the rind and the cheese, and then taste. I really let it sit in my mouth, to get all the characteristics I can from those first few bites, and to see what it leaves behind in terms of flavor and texture. Then...I plot with my bar cart and refrigerator on my next step.

This week's pairing is simple and straightforward. I found a cheese with "black beer" in it, from Spain, called Queso de Oveja a la Cerveza. This Spanish sheep's milk cheese likely has a spanish version of schwarzbier in it, as opposed to something porter or stout-like, but we might never know until I get back to Plum Market to speak to their cheesemongers. For my pairing, I went with one of my favorite beers of 2019, Half Acre Beer's Original Reaper stout. This classic American stout is earthy, leathery, and has some notes of coffee, caramel, and dark bread. The combo worked simply. The Queso had a creamy texture, slightly dusty though too, and deep umami notes upfront, hints of fruitiness, that ended in earthy richness. The beer complimented that and washed away the umami, making you ready for more cheese. Which, let's be honest, the goal is always more cheese.

Join me,, and all these beverage makers on this journey over at instagram too: @cheesesexdeath and @boozybeggarchi.

(This post isn't sponsored by, I am just that kind of geeky admirer)

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