Editor’s Note: Please make sure not to miss the other entries in the Local Lunch Series.
“Local” is the buzzword in the food industry. Everybody wants local ingredients when they go to their favorite restaurant or grocery store/market. It not only helps the local economy and environment, but it also improves the meal that is being enjoyed. I have become a huge fan of local, when done correctly. Why purchase ingredients out of the state, when there are just as great ingredients in the state? That is the case with Ohio cheeses. Yes, there are delicious cheeses from throughout the United States and around the world, but there are great cheeses in Ohio as well. After highlighting some national/internationa cheeses with the Free Lunch series, I decided to come back home and highlight some Ohio cheeses. The first entry in Local Lunch highlighted a great creamery in Mackenzie Creamery.
Now it is time to highlight another local creamery, Mayfield Road Creamery.
The first time I stumbled on Mayfield Road Creamery was when I visited our local grocery store, Heinen’s, and saw their Pepper Havarti sitting among all the other cheeses. I loved it and used it for my Hummus & Red Pepper Havarti Grilled Cheese. Then, when searching for local cheeses for this series, I found Mayfield Road Creamery at a great local bakery, Luna Bakery & Cafe. There were a couple of choices, but when I saw the Siberian Night, a cheese hand washed with Thirsty Dog Beer, I knew I found my choice.
french/tommes style cheese
France is the country of 300 cheeses and there are several families of cheeses, which are most often classified according to their firmness and the grade of their rind. Soft cheeses, cheeses with a moldy rind, non-cooked pressed cheeses, cheeses with a firm rind, etc. 
Tomme is a generic term for a group of cheeses produced mainly in the French Alps and in Switzerland. Usually, Tommes are cheeses produced from skimmed milk after the cream has been removed to make butter and full cream cheeses. Consequently, they are low in fat. 
Tommes cheeses typically adopt their place of origin in the name with the most famous being Tomme de Savoie from Savoie in the French Alps. Tommes cheese is “complex and unpredictable” with a “delicate milk and buttery aroma”. It can be complex in comparison to other cheeses. 
(Keep in mind, these descriptions are for Tommes, the type of cheese that Siberian Night is based on. I only include it to give some background on the style of cheese Mayfield Road Creamery is producing.)
Recently, I stumbled upon Mayfield Road Creamery and have been thoroughly impressed by everything that I have read and the cheeses that I have tasted. The creamery began as a family dairy farm in 1860, with the cows still currently being milked in the original barn that stood six generations ago. The creamery part of the business only started seven years ago and is truly taking off.
More than 30 cows graze freely on Mayfield Road Creamery grasslands and on oats, corn and hay in the winter. No growth or milk production hormones are used. The nutrients from the farmstead give the milk its unique flavor, and co-owners Kevin and his wife Susan Morris do the rest.
“The secret is high quality, very clean milk,” [Susan Morris] said. “Another thing that makes for better flavor is natural aging.”
“The recipes are pretty much all the same,” Susan Morris said. “Our milk and the tweaks we use make it different.” 
In order to increase sales and diversify their product line, Co-owners Kevin and his wife Susan Morris realized they had plenty of milk and believed they could make cheese. After taking a cheese making course at Ohio State University, they decided to give professional cheese making a go. Approximately 180 pounds of cheese is created from 200 gallons of milk. Mayfield Road Creamery milks twice a week and sells approximately 13,000 pounds of cheese per year. 
Raw Cow’s Milk – French Countryside Style Cheese, Basket Weave Exterior, Beer Washed Rind Using Thirsty Dog Siberian Night – Russian Stout. 
When opening the vacuum sealed packaging, you get a nice whiff of the aroma of this particular cheese. At first, it was a bit off-putting. However, once I truly understood the complex smell emanating from the cheese, I began to fall in love with Siberian Night. The aroma was not totally from the cheese itself but also the beer, Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. Siberian Night Irish Stout, that the cheese is hand washed with. After the rind is washed with the beer, the cheese is aged for four months, allowing the cheese to truly take on the flavor of the Stout beer.
After taking in the cheese via smell, it was finally time to actually sample the Siberian Night. It was amazing how evident the Stout flavor was. I felt like I could even taste the texture of the beer, the bubbles/carbonation that you taste when having a cold one. It feels like you are eating solid beer. That may sound odd but it shouldn’t. You not only experience the flavor and texture of the cheese but the Siberian Night Irish Stout is so “in your face” that you can’t miss it. All of this is what makes this so unique, and in turn delicious. The cheese was a bit strong but so is a great Irish Stout.
No, this cheese is not for the casual cheese lover or possibly even someone who prefers wine over beer, but if you don’t fall into either of those categories, you need to try this cheese. Don’t be turned off by the smell or even the strong flavor. Savor the cheese and appreciate what exactly you are eating and there is no doubt in my mind that you will slowly fall into love with Mayfield Road Creamery Siberian Night as much as I did.
mayfield road creamery siberian night grilled cheese
With some fresh Italian bread just purchased at Whole Foods, I was ready to make another grilled cheese. For as strong as Siberian Night might be considered when it is eaten plain, it definitely milds when it is melted between two slices of bread. Don’t get me wrong, the flavor is most definitely not lost. You can still taste the Siberian Night Stout, and the unique texture, it simply is a bit more nuanced. If you don’t like strong cheeses, simply melt this cheese in a grilled cheese and you will still be able to experience the amazing flavor without the “in your face” taste. Regardless of your preference, this grilled cheese was delicious.