Rock-based Sharp’s Brewery is providing neighbouring business, Padstow Cheese Company with plenty of its award-winning Sea Fury special ale to create a unique cheese product. The expert cheesemakers use the fruity ale as a brine to soak the fresh cheese in, creating the exceptional Continental Alpine style cheese, named 50 Jack.
50 Jack came about as a result of a conversation between Ed Hughes, Sharp’s expert Beer Sommelier, Sam Lyne Sharp’s Hospitality and Retail Manager and Lawrence and Rosea from the Padstow Cheese Company at the Padstow Xmas Festival during which they discussed the prospect of creating a cheese intended to be enjoyed with ale. The exclusive product came to fruition some 12 months later and has become an instant hit with some of Cornwall’s top chefs. It has received rave reviews from the chefs at Halfway House, Emily Scott at Watergate Bay, The Alverton Truro, St Michaels Hotel & Spa and The Royal Duchy, Falmouth, amongst others.
All of Padstow Cheese Company’s cheeses contain the name Jack in the titles. The team landed on ‘50 Jack’ because it is brined in 50% beer for 50 hours so the significance of this figure felt fitting. Semi hard and handmade in perfectly formed small batches, it is creamy with a rich aroma, tasting slightly sweet and yeasty with a bitter ale finish.
The cheese was recently entered into the Virtual Cheese Awards, winning a silver medal with the judges remarking on its ‘very interesting flavour’. They also noted that it tasted and gave off the pleasant aroma of berries which is a flavour note that Sea Fury shares.
To ‘wash’ the cheese, Sea Fury ale combines with salt water at a concentration of 50% beer to water ratio. The fresh cheeses come out of their moulds and are immediately put into the brine bath with beer for 50 hours to infuse. This alters the colour to a beautiful amber shade imbued from the dark ale. The cheese then matures for between 70 to 90 days and is washed weekly in Sea Fury to continuously feed the rind with beer.
Sea Fury takes its inspiration from the stormy Atlantic seas that crash into the rugged Cornish coast during the long, dark winter and was first brewed in 1996 to satisfy demand from local fishermen for an ale to enjoy after long and perilous stints at sea. Sea Fury has won multiple awards over the years including most recently ‘World’s Best Pale Bitter’ (4.5 to 5.5%) at the 2020 World Beer Awards. An exceptional example of the ‘special bitter’ beer style, Sea Fury offers substance and depth of flavour without compromising balance and drinkability and has an aroma of inviting roasted and dark berry notes which give way to a sumptuous, fruity, malty flavour and a moreish hop finish.
Lawrence Reynolds of Padstow Cheese Company said, “We were delighted to work with Sharp’s Brewery to develop 50 Jack. It is a perfect example of a true rind-washed cheese that carries the qualities of the beer incredibly well. The pairing of the cheese with the beer really works. You can definitely taste the fruitiness of the Sea Fury in 50 Jack and that is a novelty for many. This is the outcome of a fantastic collaboration between Sharp’s and ourselves, an award-winning cheesemaker with a world class local brewery.”
Ed Hughes, Sharp’s beer sommelier said, “Beer and cheese work remarkably well together in many contexts, whether that is paired together or, as in this case, the cheese is infused with the beer in production. The fact that 50 Jack has been so highly lauded, across Cornwall and beyond, reiterates this. We were super excited to work with the Padstow Cheese Company to develop 50 Jack as we love what they do. They are exceptional cheesemakers.”
50 Jack is currently available at a number of delis and farm shop cheese counters in Cornwall and Devon. The initial roll out is mainly within the southwest as the team builds up stock. It has, however, made its way up to Oxfordshire through Deli at No5 where it is selling extraordinarily well.