Beermat (Aarauer Bierdeckel, Kuentener)
Made by Sepp Brulisauer in the village of Kuenten, in north-central Switzerland, Beermat – , is a washed-rind, raw cow’s milk cheese. Somewhat confusingly, this cheese can also be known as Aarauer Bierdeckel - ‘Bierdeckel’ is German for a traditional cardboard coaster you would get under your beer at a tavern or pub – or the name Kuentener. Milk is sourced locally from herds of Red Swiss cows. In the latter stages of production, cheeses are brined and lightly pressed before being matured in an aging cellar for four weeks. During this time, each wheel is washed regularly with unfermented wheat beer which results in the aromas of Beermat being distinctive and slightly musty. Flavors are slightly sour and reminiscent of Epoisses, but not unpleasant, with notes of walnuts - probably also a result of the wheat beer washings combined with the development of the brevibacterium linens mold. This cheese pairs well with darker ales, Alsatian white wines, sweeter sparkling white wines, or ports.