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I’ve long been a fan of Hardknott Dave. From his blog entries about denying his paying B&B customers’ ketchup & HP sauce, to his current pongy ale-brewing outfit. It is easy to have a bit of fun, but what comes through is the guy’s obvious passion for his art and I was intending to buy some of his grog anyway to give it a go. It may very well be more expensive than my usual cheap nectar but heh, as a one off, just to try. A one off isn’t abandoning my principled support of cheap lager, and it is important to see the world through the eyes of others. Dave was kind enough to prevent the indignity of paying top dollar for fine ale, and sent me one to try for nowt. Nice one fella.Thankfully it was a regular bottle of Infrared and not something surrounded by a dead rat.

With this kindness I felt a sense of responsibility to do the beer justice. To appreciate it in a manner appropriate to fine ale appreciation. First off I had to drink it out of a none stolen glass. Luckily I had one of those, I’d bought a couple of beer glasses from Sainsbury’s for a pound each after the lady squeeze commented that all the beer glasses in the kitchen cupboard were “nicked” and it would be nice to have some that weren’t. Next off I had to find some food to match to it. Beer and food pairing is how fine ale is a nice posh drink up there with wine. The beer blogosphere is like a large encyclopædia of beer. All you want to know and more. I quickly figured a beer and cheese match was in order. Beer and cheese matching is what proper beer geeks do.

So what is the finest cheese on gods earth? Pongy French cheese? Rubbery German cheese? Cheddar? That blue mouldy stuff that is rank? The finest cheese on Gods earth is DairyLee triangles. Philadelphia comes close, Kraft cheese singles is up there, and cheese strings are not to be sniffed at, but DairyLee Triangles is without doubt the finest cheese on the planet. As DairyLee Light was on special offer at a full 30p a packet cheaper, we make a nod to cheesy health. On top of a mini cheddar, it’s cheese gold. A bit of garnish to make it posh, but I’m not one for salad so a 6 for £1 Morrisons sausage roll gives a bit of meaty garnish to the dish.

I pour the beer out and read the label. It’s bottle conditioned so I did consider carefully pouring it to avoid sediment, but that always leaves some beer wasted so I thought sod it and poured the lot out. It wasn’t cloudy and was indeed the ruby red colour the bottle promised. It promises an oxymoronic IPA as hoppy as a bucket full of frogs. Not knowing what that meant I assumed it just meant “bitter” Based on an Oregon beer with cascade & centennial hops & crystal malt. Yarda Yarda Yarda. Flagship beer meant to shock me be a challenge. Wait a minute there is some useful information. 6.5%. That means its nut juice. It’s looking promising. Time for a swig.

Delicious. Hoppy, Bitter but balanced with a sweetness. Fantastic, love it to bits. Decent grog. A fruity pong for sure, but not an unpleasant smell. A nice swig when you neck it. The fizz hits the tongue followed by a lasting bitterness that lingers and dries the sides of your mouth out. Quite a mutli-layered beer hitting the tope of the mouth first. Theirs a charcoal burntness to it as well which it quite appealing. Combined with the light cheesy creaminess of DairyLee contrasting with the full cheddary goodness of mini cheddars I’m seeing cheese and beer is quite the thing. Set it off with the mechanically reclaimed meatiness of a cheap sausage roll and this is quite the feast. Only one thing can top this off. A mini battenburg for afters.

Truly a fine ale, and when combined with a truly fine cheese it is a simple but fine feast. But what makes DairyLee so good? See the video. Can you do that with any other cheese?

Video of DairyLee: