The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded problems for dairy farmers in Pennsylvania. One of the most important parts of the Commonwealth’s agriculture economy, dairy farming supports 52,000 jobs and generates $14.7 billion a year. However, challenging market conditions have created a serious threat to the livelihood of many dairy farmers. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania lost 370 dairy farms in 2018. Now, with schools and restaurants closed statewide, demand is down and many farmers have been forced to dump excess milk.
Tröegs Independent Brewing is doing its part to help out, teaming up with The GIANT Company and Caputo Brothers Creamery of Spring Grove, Pa. to create Perpetual Beer Cheese. All of the milk used to make the Perpetual Beer Cheese comes from Pennsylvania dairy farms.
“In a time when a lot of us are feeling helpless, we asked ourselves what we can do to make a difference,” says Rynn Caputo, president of Caputo Brothers Creamery. “This partnership with GIANT and Tröegs has already helped keep two dairy farms running, and as it grows, we have the potential to save even more farms. This is our opportunity to make a small but important difference in the world, to keep more Pennsylvania farms sustainably operating. If enough people focus on one thing they can do to make this situation better, we can come back even stronger.”
The new variety of beer cheese is now available at all 186 GIANT, MARTIN’S and GIANT Heirloom Market locations. New this year, the product is available for purchase through GIANT Direct and MARTIN’S Direct, the company’s online grocery service. The cheese also will be available at Caputo Brothers and through the new Tröegs To-Go Curbside service.
The sweet and creamy beer cheese has lively notes of citrus thanks to the addition of Citra hops, an aromatic American-grown flower that is a key flavor component in the best-selling Tröegs beer Perpetual IPA. At the York County creamery, cheesemakers run warm milk through sacks full of whole-flower Citra hops before pressing it into forms. The cheese then bathes in a brine of saltwater and Perpetual IPA. In Caputo’s aging cave, the cheese gets a daily misting of Perpetual, bringing the beer’s aroma to the rind and giving it a golden hue.
“Perpetual is the best-selling IPA in Pennsylvania and is a favorite of many beer drinkers,” says John Trogner, brewmaster and founding brother of Tröegs. “What the team at Caputo did with this cheese is just amazing. It is unapologetically a beer cheese and biting into it and tasting the unmistakable citrus notes of Perpetual makes us as brewers really happy. Local dairies, local beer, local good says it all.”
At 5 p.m tomorrow (May 15), the cheesemakers and brewers will convene for a virtual tasting. Caputo and Trogner will be joined by cheesemaker Wade Smith, cheese writer Madame Fromage and Central Pennsylvania writer and event coordinator Sara Bozich. They’ll discuss how Caputo’s cheesemakers got Perpetual’s signature citrus notes into the cheese and how this fruitful marriage of Pennsylvania makers is benefiting the local dairy industry.
To participate in the virtual tasting, simply pick up some Perpetual Beer Cheese at any GIANT, MARTIN’S or GIANT Heirloom Market location, Caputo Brothers, or Tröegs To-Go Curbside service and join at troegs.com/beercheese using the password “Perpetual.” The tasting is limited to 1,000 virtual seats.