EVERY MAY, THE Seattle Cheese Festival at Pike Place Market draws thousands of sample seekers to taste genres produced across the country—and the world. But when Capitol Hill resident Lisa Miyashita started chatting up the vendors on her visits to the Ballard Farmers Market, she discovered no event existed to celebrate the more than 40 cheesemakers plying their trade across the state.

How handy that Miyashita had five years of experience planning tasting events for the Washington Beer Commission, a background that proved quite helpful in creating the brand new Washington Artisan Cheesemakers Festival, happening April 7 at the Seattle Design Center.

Fromage-ophiles can drink wine and cider, but Miyashita’s background means that beer will dominate. Four Seattle breweries will be pouring tastes, a happy confluence considering how well these effervescent ales pair up with lush, creamy cheese.


A $35 ticket means communing with 20 curd maestros from around the state, including some rarely seen in Seattle. Sheri LaVigne, owner of Melrose Market cheese shop the Calf and Kid, is especially excited to sample the offerings from Monteillet Fromagerie of Dayton, near Walla Walla, which makes small batches of goat’s-and-sheep’s-milk cheese seldom seen outside southeastern Washington. Like many of her industry cohorts, LaVigne believes in the complementary nature of beer and cheese. Here she matches up four Seattle ales with Washington cheeses, all from breweries and creameries that will be at the festival.


Washington Artisan Cheesemakers Festival
Apr 7, advance tickets $35 ($40 at the door),
Seattle Design Center, 5701 Sixth Ave S,

800-838-3006; washingtonartisancheese.com

Dinah’s Cheese (Kurtwood Farms, Vashon Island) and Schooner Exact Regrade Pale Ale
The combination of the two make for an awesome third flavor sensation; they play with each other very well.

Woman of La Mancha Goat Cheese (Gothberg Farms, Bow) and Epic Ales Strong Farmhouse-Style Desert Ale
It’s a hearty yet versatile cheese that will go well with most beers.

 

Two-Faced Blue (Willapa Hills, Doty) and Two Beers Heart of Darkness Cascadian Dark Ale
This beer brings out the sweet, fruity notes of the cheese without overpowering it.


 

Trailblazer Aged Double-Cream Tomme (Backcountry Creamery, Tacoma) and Pike Brewing Naughty Nellie Golden Artisan Ale
This is more of a contrast pairing, a sweet, milky-flavored cheese with a tart, h




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