A few years ago I attended a cheese tasting hosted by the ebullient Ned Palmer, author of A Cheesemonger’s History of the British Isles. It consisted of a selection of artisanal British cheeses, each deftly paired with a matching beer.
The tasting first introduced me to what has become one of my favourite cheeses, Stichelton. This cheese is similar to Stilton in the way it’s made, except it uses unpasteurised milk, meaning it cannot call itself by that name. Its hallmark characteristics are a juicy flavour, held up by a light acidity, and a biscuity note that becomes more pronounced towards the rind. If it sounds like I’m describing a beer, well, hang on to your hats.
At the tasting, we cut into a particularly juicy piece of Stichelton, and I recall Ned remarking that we had stumbled across an unusually good piece. I remember it having a distinctive pineapple character, and how I’d never tasted anything like it.
The reason I bring this up is that the beer I am writing about today reminded me of that slightly acidic, pineapple-tinged flavour to the point where it made me recall that cheese tasting in crystal-clear detail. I feel it’s important to state before I go on, however, that this beer does not taste like blue cheese, but merely shares some of the more favourable characteristics of that particularly excellent slice of Stichelton.
Bristol’s Newtown Park is one of the most exciting breweries to have emerged in 2021 and this DIPA – a collaboration with Cornish Haze Lords Verdant called Emerging From The Mist – is evidence of why. Fusing a modern classic combo of Citra, Strata, Idaho 7 and everyone’s favourite love/hate hop Sabro, it delivers the soft body and juicy fruit character that has made hazy DIPAs like this one so popular among enthusiasts.
That fruit note, however, for me is so specifically pineapple-y that for some reason it reminds me of that juicy piece of Stichelton I had many years ago. This is reinforced by the slightly acidic tang that follows, preventing the beer from becoming too overbearing. It’s curious, it’s weird and, while I’m almost certain it’s not intentional, I can’t wait to try more beers from this new brewery.
Matthew Curtis is a writer, photographer and editor of Pellicle Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @totalcurtis and @pelliclemag. Sign up to our All Killer No Filler subscription box and you'll find incredible beers like this one every month, plus more great writing from Matthew and our food writer Claire Bullen.