New Cheese! And made just a couple of hours away from me in Mankato, MN, it’s Keith Adam’s Good Thunder.
I first tried a bit of Good Thunder when a few of the mongers were trying it at Surdyk’s in Minneapolis… wasn’t wanting stinky cheese at the time and Good Thunder didn’t have an immediate appeal. This week I picked up a whole cheese so that I could finally sit down and ponder this unusual cheese unlike anything I know of from a Minnesota maker.
Keith’s Alemar Cheese Co. is all but a one-man show in Mankato in southwest Minnesota. He’s made but one cheese for just five years, his Bent River Camembert. It’s a good seller in these parts and, while my general harrumphs about Camembert are well known here, it is a good cheese.
Good Thunder, named after the small town nearby, is an altogether different beast. Washed in a solution of Surly Bender, their oatmeal brown ale made in Minneapolis and a brewer known for in your face hopped-up flavors and Brevibacterium linens, the origin of orange rinds and all things stinky, Good Thunder is more good lord! when you first unwrap it. The stink stank stunk does mellow and blow off as the cheese comes to room temp, but the flavor maintains a bitterness. And the flavor is hard to pin down: meaty, burnt peanut bitterness… savory, sweeter towards the center. It’s dense, very. Keith says it will eventually ripen to all gooey… I’m guessing this cheese was just released and only a few weeks old. I’d wager a few more weeks and this one would really raise a stink.
Pairing with Surly hop monsters or any of the Twin Cities’ beers that have been embracing heavy hopping would make sense… I wanted to try it instead with sparkling wine, something yeasty, but the cheese was gone before I got around to popping a cork. As with any new cheese, this is certain to shift a bit as Keith adapts and develops the recipe. I’ll look forward to watching it change when we get the new shop open.
Cheese: Good Thunder
WHO: Alemar Cheese Co.
Where: Mankato, MN
Milk Type: cow(pasteurized)
Texture: firm (at least when young)
Format: just under 1/2lb square
Tasting notes: meaty, burnt peanut bitterness… savory, sweeter towards the center.