NEXTpittsburgh (March 14, 2016)-“This is a little wacky, but I think it might be right,” said Kelly Harding in his slow, Southern lilt. “I get molasses-based barbecue sauce on smoky pork, followed by a cup of coffee.” Harding, the creamery manager at Goat Rodeo, was describing a particularly unique pairing at a recent tasting event. Roundabout Brewery’s Sweetest Thing, a malty, chocolaty porter, joined Harding’s own Bamboozle, a raw goat’s milk cheese with a rind washed in Roundabout’s spent yeast. Harding was right: the funky cheese and roasty porter mingled for a smoky, bitter and wholly enjoyable pairing.
For years, Steve and India Loevner have raised goats and made cheese on their 130-acre farm, which is tucked down a windy road in Allison Park. But last June, the Loevners transitioned from making cheese for personal consumption to a full-fledged creamery operation. “It all starts with really great milk,” notes Steve Loevner. That milk comes from a herd of more than a hundred Nubian and Alpine goats, who have constant access to fresh pasture and alfalfa hay. Goat Rodeo also features a few cheeses made with cow’s milk, which they source from Le-Ara Farms in Worthington, PA.
For folks (myself included) only acquainted with goat cheese in its fresh, spreadable form, Goat Rodeo’s lineup is a revelation. They do make fresh chèvre, a creamy and mildy tangy cheese. But they also make varieties in nearly every family of cheese, from Chickabiddy (a “bloomy rind” style with a pronounced mushroom flavor) to Stampede (a semi-hard, mixed milk cheese with buttery, grassy notes).
Though they’ve been selling cheese for less than a year, Goat Rodeo already has an impressive presence in and around Pittsburgh. In addition to appearing in many of the city’s best restaurants, Goat Rodeo is sold through Penn’s Corner, East End Food Co-op, Penn Mac and numerous farmers’ markets. By the spring, all of the local Market Districts will carry Goat Rodeo cheeses as well. So pick up some cheeses, grab a few beers (“match strength for strength,” suggests Harding), and invite some friends over for an excellent Friday night. Read the full story here.