Colorado is bursting with goat cheese makers these days. Goats are a hardy creature well suited to the harsh climates of Colorado. From perennial favorite Avalanche Cheese Company, to today's feature Haystack Mountain, there's a goat cheese for every taste.
Queso de Mano was the first raw milk offering from Haystack Mountain. Drawing heavily from the goat and sheep cheese of Spain, Queso de Mano bears a strong resemblance to the famous Spanish goat cheese Garrotxa. Starting with the vaguely fluffy, dusty grey rind, which carries with it a damp earthy/goaty aroma. The paste of the cheese its self is supple and springy. Giving way to a toothsome cream when young and a bit more dry fudge crumble when aged. Flavors of blanched almond, sun dried grass, and minerals weave together to form a pleasing nod to those Spanish cheeses Queso de Mano is inspired by.
Aged 4 to 12 months makes this cheese perfectly in season for late summer. Depending on the wheel, the milk used to produce Queso de Mano was made from either sweet spring grasses or the herbs and flowers of summer. Either way this cheese wins and so do you.
Queso de Mano can be found regionally in the western U.S. and is perfect paired up with a locally brewed Colorado pale ale.