Last October, Bleu Mont Dairy’s Two-Year Cheddar was featured as part of American Cheese Month. In my mind, it is quite possibly one of the best cloth-bound cheddars currently made in the US.
Today another from Wisconsin’s “mad scientist” of cheese Willi Lehner, his unusual “Alpine Renegade”. Made from milk from Uplands Cheese in Wisconsin (Andy Hatch, who makers the award-winning Pleasant Ridge Reserve and Rush Creek Reserve), Alpine Renegade seems to be a bit of a nod to the decade Willi spent studying cheesemaking in Switzerland: raw milk, washed rind, nutty and fruity, quite sharp.
I suspect, unfortunately, that the sample I picked up at the cheesemonger had started to go south. It was very salty, becoming bitter. It was out of balance. It was also harder and drier than I suspect it ought to be. All traits that conflict with other descriptions of this cheese I have read elsewhere. So I have to reserve judgement on this one until I can tract down another sample.
Meanwhile- here’s a great video where you’ll meet Willi and get a glimpse into his passion and process.
Cheese: Alpine Renegade
Where: Blue Mounds, WI
Milk Type: cow (raw)
Shape: 9-10lb wheel
Tasting notes: sharp, fruity and nutty. See comments above about this particular wedge being off.