Food Review

The best part of Philly Beer Week is the cheese?


Photo courtesy of Cherry Grove Farm

My excitement each year for Philly Beer Week comes down to one word “Discovery”.   Each year I set out to find something new.  Taste a new brew, meet a new brewery contact, or learn some neat beer facts.  Yesterday was our annual Ale Monger led Booze Dancer Philly Beer Week mini pub crawl (separate recap post to be prepared by G-lo) and I didn’t have my discovery moment until our last stop.

As usual, I joined late after returning from business in NYC.  The boys (Ale Monger, G-lo, & Crazy Eye) had already hit a few bars but with a few texts I tracked them down and joined in on the fun.

Stop #1 was the Samson Street Oyster House.  There they had a Victory Headwaters Pale Ale Firkin.  I have tried this in bottles before and enjoyed the beer.  This version was creamier and better but didn’t wow me.  The Headwaters Pale Ale is a great beer but one that I think gets overhyped a bit.

Stop #2 was Misconduct Tavern.    There we got some dinner and tried some beers from Ithaca Beer Comany.  For me the best beer of this stop was Ithaca’s Partly Sunny.  It’s great take on a classic Belgian Wit and perfect for summer refreshment.  The brews we tried at Misconduct changed my view on Ithaca.  Previously I wasn’t a fan but now I am.

Stop #3 was Capogiro so the kiddies boys could satisfy their sweet tooth.  I don’t have a sweet tooth so no gelato for me.

Stop #4 was Varga Bar.  A long hot walk for a crowded bar where we couldn’t get a beer so we moved on.

Stop #5, our last and final stop, was Tria‘s Washington Square West location.  There were no specific Beer Week events that night but it is pretty much always Philly Beer Week at Tria with great brews and great food.  That is where I finally found something new.

I selected a Bell’s Oberon for my final beer of the evening.   It’s a solid summer ale but was just a supporting actor in this discovery moment.    The lead actor was recommend by our Bartender, Carrie.  I told her I was looking for a cheese that complemented the Oberon’s summery zest and she pointed me to Cherry Grove Farm’s Toma Primavera.  I was in heaven.

The Toma Primavera paired perfectly with the Oberon.   It is a cheese that is creamy and smooth but somehow also sharp and tangy.   It is a complex buttery cheese with rich flavors including subtle earthy hints of berries and nuts.  What makes the experience even better is that it is locally produced in nearby Lawrenceville, NJ and apparently delivered by the producer right to Tria.

Tria serves the Toma Primavera with slices of crusty bread and a sweet and tangy apricot mustard.  The sum of a solid brew plus great cheese plus perfect presentation equals a true delight.  If you want to try this cheese head to Tria or grab a sampler pack with this cheese in it online from the farm.

So that’s my discovery.  I left NJ to head to Philly in search of great beer but this year I found a great local cheese made just a few miles up the road back in my home State.

12 replies »

    • I thought is was a neat find too. The funny thing is the farm that produces this cheese is 10 minutes from my office and I drive past it all the time. I will have to stop in and grab some tasty cheeses in the near future.

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  1. So, you found a place that allowed for a twofer… You got a good beer and great cheese and the Monger was left to watch in disgust as you ate your cheese. Really nice work!

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