Bear Hill, Grafton Village Cheese {Blue Ribbon Week}

by dccheese on August 6, 2013

in American Cheese Society,American-NewEngland,American-Northeast,cheese awards,Cheesemakers & People,Sheep

As you may have noticed, Vermont took both first and second honors at the American Cheese Society awards ceremony. And no one was more stoked about that fact than Grafton Village cheesemaker Dane Huebner, a Wisconsin native turned Vermonter.

Bear Hill, Grafton Village Cheese

Huebner and Grafton Village took 2nd place, Best in Show, for Bear Hill (first in its category, open sheep’s milk washed rind); another blue ribbon for Eweden Apple Pie in the marinated sheeps milk category; and a second place ribbon for Vermont Clothbound Cheddar.

Click below to watch Huebner’s acceptance speech.

Dane Huebner Grafton Village Cheese from Colleen | GlassBottle on Vimeo.

Bear Hill is a pleasant, sweet, nutty and milky washed-rind, Alpine-style 100-percent sheeps milk cheese, with none of the barnyardy flavor that sheeps milk cheeses can sometimes have. It is mild as far as washed rinds go, but it has a slightly sweet fruitiness that makes it perfectly suited for beer pairings.

I was fortunate to taste the one wheel of Bear Hill sent to DC earlier this year, but hadn’t written about it yet since it was no longer available. And, while the wait won’t be as long as that for Winnimere, it will be until autumn before Bear Hill is back on the market. Huebner was already on top of his team back home to get busy making it when we spoke even prior to the ACS award ceremony.

Bear Hill, best in show runner up

Bear Hill also won acclaim overseas, as the 2013 International Cheese Awards took place in England earlier in the week. Bear Hill won the National Sheep Association Trophy and a gold medal; while Grafton also garnered gold for Truffled Bismark, silver for Bismark and Leyden, bronze for Shepsog, and a “Very Highly Commended” award for their 4-year Aged Cheddar. (View full results from the International Cheese Awards here.) Not a bad way to wrap up a week. Viva Vermont!

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BLUE RIBBON GIVEAWAY: We’ve teamed up with the cheese-loving crew at Murray’s Cheese to offer one lucky reader a “Blue Ribbon Beauties” box of winning cheeses. Leave a comment on each post this week for the best chance of winning a shipment straight from Murray’s to you. If you’ve had Grafton cheeses, what was your favorite?

Disclosure: Murray’s is generously providing the giveaway prize, but no other compensation was received.

{ 6 comments }

s. August 6, 2013 at 10:28 pm

I missed having the Bear Hill @ the ACS this year, but I have had their production of Bismark and thought it was delicious (there is something damn special about those VT sheep!)

Todd August 7, 2013 at 8:45 am

I’ll have to look for this in a couple of the local cheese shops. Sounds too good not to find.

Bianca August 7, 2013 at 11:18 am

Not surprised to be blown away by their cheeses. Bear Hill was spot on, a perfect cheddar. But when a friend of mine found the last chunk of Bismark at the ACS cheese sale I got a little cranky!

Sonia August 8, 2013 at 1:24 pm

I wonder if they sell this one at Cowgirl Creamery in DC. These all look great!

dccheese August 9, 2013 at 1:30 pm

@ Sonia — I found it at Righteous Cheese earlier in the year, I suspect they’ll have it again as soon it’s back.

Robin Chesser August 9, 2013 at 3:23 pm

I haven’t tried but I’m sure I’ll love it.

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