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Skagit Brew Corner: Lighten Up with Lager

Despite our meager share of sunshine days here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s a great time to rediscover the world of lager beers, such as pilsners and hefeweizens. The main difference between ales and lagers is the type of brewing yeast used. Lagers, named for the German word “lagern” (meaning “to store”), are fermented with bottom feeding, cold fermenting yeasts, whereas British-style and American ales are fermented warm with a top fermenting yeast. Though both types of beer can be refreshing, ales are typically more substantial and lagers are often lower in alcohol and have less hops, making them great choices for afternoon and picnic entertaining.

What I Drank: Scrimshaw Pilsner from North Coast Brewing, Fort Bragg, CA              4.4% ABV / 22 IBU

What I Ate: Big Ed’s Farm Style Gouda raw cow’s milk cheese from Saxon Homestead Creamery, Cleveland WI with Breadfarm Multigrain bread and fresh organic red cherries.

What I Thought: Scrimshaw Pilsner is one of the five core premium beers from North Coast Brewing and it makes a great accompaniment to most cheeses, especially the flavorful offerings from Saxon Homestead Creamery. Scrimshaw is refreshingly dry, with the old world charm in the form of nutty Munich malts and gentle citrus hops from the Hallertau region of Germany, one of the world’s oldest hop cultivating regions.

Much as North Coast crafts its microbrews by hand in small batches, Saxon Creamery makes all their cheese from one herd of grass-fed cows on a single family farm.  Since 1850, the Klessig family have been grazing dairy cows and making cheese on the family’s homestead in Wisconsin. Big Ed’s Gouda is buttery, mellow and mild raw milk cheese that tastes wonderful when eaten on sandwiches or paired with sweet-tart fruit, such as cherries. Aged for 3 months, it is outstanding and versatile staple in the kitchen for your favorite cheese recipes. Or just eat it plain, chunk by chunk, and raise your Scrimshaw in a toast to the Sun!

By: Claire

ClaireClaire Harlock Garber loves to eat and drink and write about it. She has worked in the food industry for nearly a decade and was on staff at the Skagit Valley Co-op from 2010-2018, writing the regular columns Skagit Brew Corner, The Cheese Whisperer, The Bounty of Bulk, and What's Dippin' in the Well for the Co-op's blog, as well as articles for the Natural Enquirer newsletter.