I tried to plan ahead for this week’s forced offline time and purchased two cheeses last week. But a name-confusion snafu left me with the wrong cheese to review! We’d hate to leave you with only one cheese for the week, though, so here are my tasting notes on a cheese that isn’t on the “100 Great Cheese” list.
Now, one thing I’ve learned in my few months’ worth of experience as a cheese writer is that there is a certain “groupthink” mentality when it comes to embracing new cheeses. When I reviewed Winnimere there was only one shop in town carrying it; it was Culture‘s centerfold cheese around the same time and now every shop in town has it in stock. Deservedly so, in that case. But in other cases, one might wonder how much a cheese’s popularity is more driven by a good PR campaign than by its quality or taste.
Take Beehive‘s Barely Buzzed. It was reviewed in the San Francisco Chronicle in February, and I soon after found it at the District’s Cowgirl Creamery. Now, at least two other local cheese shops are carrying it too. Artisanal cheesemakers in the arid Southwest are rare, and Beehive’s Jersey cows graze on lush alfalfa near Great Salt Lake.
At first taste, I thought their Barely Buzzed coffee and lavendar-coated cheese was kind of cool, combining a sweet, creamy cheese with the bitter tang of coffee. But further sampling has led me to reconsider. After eating more than a few bites, I feel that the coffee grounds are too distracting. The sensation of licking a used coffee filter is not one I typically look for when sitting down to enjoy some cheese and ale. I do recommend trying it with a dark stout if you come across it, and it certainly adds a conversation starter to your cheese plate. But it is one cheese that won’t be jockeying for a spot on my personal “top 10″ list anytime soon. (I am, however, curious to sample Beehive’s newest honey and salt-rubbed SeaHive.)
What do you say, readers, have you tried Beehive? Have a much-hyped cheese you just don’t love, either?