In the lush, picturesque landscapes of Minnesota, a unique culinary treasure is being crafted. It’s not what you might expect from this northern state, known for its lakes and Twin Cities. This treasure is a cheese – but not just any cheese. Aptly named Good Thunder, this artisanal delight is a testament to the rich dairy heritage of the state and the innovative spirit of its cheesemakers.
Good Thunder cheese is a taste of Minnesota’s finest, a product of dedicated craftsmanship and a true reflection of the region’s terroir. This creamy, washed-rind cheese draws inspiration from French traditions, yet possesses a unique character that is unmistakably Minnesotan.
Quick Facts About Good Thunder Cheese
|Origin||Produced by Alemar Cheese Company in Mankato, Minnesota, USA.|
|Type of Milk||Made from pasteurized cow’s milk.|
|Flavor Profile||Has a rich, buttery flavor with notes of meat and yeast due to its unique ale wash.|
|Texture||Semi-soft cheese with a creamy and supple texture.|
|Rind||The rind is washed with Surly Bender beer, contributing to its distinct flavor and aroma.|
|Aging Time||Aged for 15 days to develop its full flavor.|
|Pairings||Pairs well with hearty breads, fruits like apples and pears, and a variety of ales and wines.|
|Inspiration||Inspired by the French cheese Reblochon.|
|Awards||Good Thunder was awarded 2nd place in the Washed Rind Cheeses category at the 2013 American Cheese Society Competition.|
|Availability||It is available year-round at various cheese shops and online stores.|
What is Good Thunder Cheese?
Good Thunder Cheese is a unique, artisanal creation from the Alemar Cheese Company, nestled in Mankato, Minnesota. This cheese is not just any ordinary dairy product; it’s an embodiment of craftsmanship and passion for bringing distinctive flavors to the world of cheese.
Derived from pasteurized cow’s milk, Good Thunder is a semi-soft washed-rind cheese. Its inspiration comes from the French mountain cheese Reblochon, a testament to the global influences that shape American cheesemaking. It’s not just the texture and the type of Good Thunder that grabs attention, but also the unique aging process that sets it apart.
The cheese is bathed weekly for three weeks in Surly Brewing’s Bender, an oatmeal brown ale. This innovative process infuses the cheese with a complex flavor profile while contributing to its rich, unctuous texture. The result? A cheese that’s funky, stinky, and utterly delicious.
Despite its strong aroma, the flavor of Good Thunder is remarkably balanced. As the cheese ages, it develops into a softer, more funky-flavored delight. This balance between scent and taste makes Good Thunder a versatile addition to any cheese platter.
At $26.00 per pound, Good Thunder is a gourmet choice worth every penny. Whether you’re a cheese connoisseur or someone who loves exploring unique flavors, Good Thunder offers an experience that’s as enjoyable as it is distinct.
What Does Good Thunder Cheese Taste Like?
Good Thunder Cheese boasts a rich, deep, and complex flavor profile. The initial taste is creamy and buttery, reflecting its high-quality cow’s milk origin. But it’s the unique process of washing the cheese in Surly Bender beer that lends it a distinct taste.
This beer-washing imparts a slightly yeasty, malty note to the cheese, reminiscent of the beer itself. As it ages, Good Thunder develops a meaty savoriness, enhancing its richness. Despite these robust flavors, the cheese maintains an overall balanced taste, not being excessively sharp or overpoweringly strong.
It’s also worth noting that the aroma of Good Thunder is quite potent, often described as ‘barnyardy’ or ‘earthy’. However, don’t let the smell deter you. The flavor is much milder than the scent implies, making for a surprisingly palatable and enjoyable eating experience.
In terms of texture, Good Thunder is semi-soft and supple, with a creaminess that melts in your mouth. This combination of intriguing flavors and delightful texture makes Good Thunder Cheese a versatile and crowd-pleasing choice for cheese lovers.
Good Thunder Cheese Tasting Notes
- Aroma: The cheese has a potent aroma, often described as ‘barnyardy’ or ‘earthy.’ It’s a result of the beer-washing process which imparts a distinct and strong smell to the cheese.
- Initial Flavor: On first taste, Good Thunder offers a creamy, buttery flavor derived from its high-quality cow’s milk base. This gives way to more complex flavors as it melts in your mouth.
- Complex Notes: The unique beer-washing process infuses the cheese with yeasty, malty notes reminiscent of the Surly Bender beer used in its production.
- Developing Flavors: With aging, Good Thunder develops a meaty savoriness that enhances its richness. Despite these robust flavors, the cheese maintains an overall balanced taste, not being excessively sharp or overpoweringly strong.
- Texture: The texture of Good Thunder is semi-soft and supple, adding to the overall tasting experience. It has a creaminess that makes it melt in your mouth.
- Aftertaste: Good Thunder leaves a lingering savory taste on the palate. It’s a flavor that invites you to reach for another bite.
- Pairings: Good Thunder pairs well with hearty breads, fruits like apples and pears, and a variety of ales and wines. These companions can help to bring out the cheese’s complex flavors even more.
5 Best Good Thunder Cheese Substitutes
|Cheese||Short Description||Short Tasting Profile|
|Reblochon||A soft washed-rind cheese from France, similar in style to Good Thunder.||Creamy, nutty, and slightly fruity with a strong, pungent aroma.|
|Limburger||A German cheese known for its very strong smell.||Tangy and intense, with a creamy texture and assertive aroma.|
|Gruyere||A hard yellow Swiss cheese that is a good melting cheese.||Sweet but slightly salty, with a flavor that varies widely with age.|
|Beaufort||A French cheese from the Alps, similar to Gruyere but with a distinct character.||Rich and creamy with a complex, fruity sweetness.|
|Blue Earth Brie||Another creation from Alemar Cheese Company, it’s a soft-ripened cheese.||Mild, buttery, and creamy with a bloomy rind.|
What Pairs Well with Good Thunder Cheese?
Food that goes well with Good Thunder:
|Breads||Rustic whole grain bread, baguettes, sourdough, rye bread|
|Fruits||Apples, pears, grapes, dried figs|
|Nuts & Seeds||Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds|
|Meats||Salami, prosciutto, smoked turkey|
|Condiments||Honey, fig jam, mustard|
|Vegetables||Olives, pickles, roasted bell peppers|
|Desserts||Dark chocolate, cheesecake, fruit tart|
Also read: What Fruit Goes on a Charcuterie Board?
Beverage that goes well with Good Thunder:
|Beer||Stout, Porter, Amber Ale, Belgian Ale|
|Wine||Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Beaujolais|
|Spirits||Whiskey, Brandy, Bourbon|
|Non-Alcoholic||Apple Cider, Grape Juice, Herbal Tea|
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