Beecher’s Flagship Reserve: Addictive American Cheddar Cheese

January 15, 2011

Beecher’s Flagship Reserve is a lovely American cheddar cheese. I took this cheese home on a theory that with cooler winter weather, my family would appreciate a more complex cheese. I hoped that our panel’s aged-cheese-rejectors would give Flagship Reserve a fair shake. I expected the worst from my tasters. Yet Flagship Reserve won over the whole crew.

Flagship Reserve is a firm cheddar-style cheese from Beecher’s Handmade Cheese in Seattle, Washington.  Flagship Reserve is a special version of Beecher’s Flagship cheese, made “only on days when the milk composition is just right.”  The cheese is produced with pasteurized cow’s milk, then bound in cloth to mature.  It is open-air aged for 13-16 months before market.

beechers-flagship-reserve-cheese-by-cheesechatter-january-2011

Beecher’s Flagship Reserve is statuesque and solid. Our sample (about 5″ tall) is just half the height of the whole cheese. The cheese has a natural rind that shows the tight weave from its cloth wrap. The interior paste is yellow-beige, with its color intensifying towards the rind. The cheese paste is smooth to the touch.

The rind smells fresh and natural like the outdoors: it has a faint cedar-like scent.  Flagship Reserve’s aroma has an inviting aroma that is cheesy and fruity.

Flagship Reserve’s flavor is intense from the get-go.  It is initially very nutty and tangy, just short of cheek-puckering. It has an underlying sour fruitiness that gives the cheese balance and mellows its tanginess. Flagship Reserve ends tangy and sour, with these flavors lasting long in the mouth after eating. The cheese has a nice, chewy texture.

Flagship Reserve is an addictive cheese. Its flavors are intense, yet offer a lot of complexity. The flavors linger nicely on the tongue and encourage further eating. We all liked this cheese a lot.

Flagship Reserve is a versatile cheese.  It is easy to eat on its own as a snack, but has enough weight and complexity to make it a good one to share at a party.  I’d take this camping, on a picnic or a hike.  I expect it would be superb in recipes that call for cheddar cheese.

Purchase Notes:  We purchased Beecher’s Flagship Reserve at Cowgirl Creamery.  It is also available in 1-lb quantities at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese.

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