Brew Cheese Offers a Flavorful Nosh Combo
There’s a huge craft beer movement going on right now that just happens to coincide with a growing interest in craft cheese, and when the two are paired together at Brew Cheese in Stony Brook, it makes for a really interesting exploration of new flavor combinations.
Most people think of wine going with cheese… but if you think about it, good craft beer goes really well with some of the more savory kind of flavorings you can find in cheese.
That’s what Brew Cheese shop owner David Striffler, a Stony Brook University chemistry major graduate, was thinking when he decided to go with the opportunity to run a business showcasing both.
“If you had asked me a while ago whether this is what I’d be doing, I would have thought that’s crazy but it’s a passion I didn’t know I had,” said David Striffler, owner of Brew Cheese in Stony Brook.
Striffler takes the business of cheese seriously. In fact he is only one of two certified cheese brokers on Island having completed the Certified Cheese Professionals exam, a rigorous exam that also required 4,000 hours documented working with cheese.
“It was difficult,” Striffler said. “You had to know about everything from temperatures to mold strains.”
In addition to carrying some sophisticated cheese, Brew Cheese also serves a really amazing cheese sandwich they’ll press right in the shop for you. Seriously. Gooey.
Some of the specialty cheese sandwiches include a Cuban, which has ham and cheese, but the cheese is a Mustard Cheddar. The popular Raclette sandwich has pickles, Prosciutto and apricot jam. A large wheel of cheese is brought out and scraped on to the top of the sandwich.
“The Raclette is a knife and fork kind of sandwich,” Striffler said.
Brew Cheese also does flights and pairings of craft beers, mostly domestic, a majority of them local from Brooklyn, New York and Long Island. A flight includes four different five oz. glasses and you can pair it with a cheese board with three different cheeses and crackers and jam.
The variety of cheese at Brew Cheese is impressive. While Striffler said he likes to carry local cheese including Mecox Dairy, which he said is popular, he also carries cheeses from France and Spain. The Drunken Goat is a goat cheese washed in Merlot that comes from Spain.
“People ask me if they get the goat drunk, but no. It’s a process ; even the (reddish) rind is edible,” he said.
Recently the shop got in some goats milk Manchego from Spain and then a place in Connecticut came out with a Womanchego, made from Cow’s Milk. Another favorite is the ‘Sigit’ cheese, which is a cross between Cheddar and Parmesan, and tastes amazing on a cracker, especially with jam.
The Sigit just has so much flavor,” he said.
After Striffler graduated from Stony Brook University, he worked a chemical company and other fashion and TV companies before working as a cheese buyer for Whole Foods, which is where he really developed his passion and understanding of cheese and went on to get his certification.
Striffler came to Stony Brook Village Center in 2015, originally working with Tim and Callie at Crazy Beans operating a cheese case, before owning Brew Cheese here.
“Back in the day you only had wine and cheese, but a lot of people are getting into beer,” Striffler said. “It’s all about how well they go together.”
Brew Cheese: 127 Main St., Stony Brook, NY. (631) 675-6060.
By Kristen Matejka