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Hop on Top

When beer makes the difference

Using beer to refine a cheese is no novelty. But the technique cheese maker Franz Renggli came up with truly is.

Entlebuch, a vast area located between the city of Luzern and the Emmental region, not only is well known for its cheeses but also for the production of grains and, thus, beer. Franz Renggli, a young artisan always on the outlook to create unique and different cheeses, took advantage of this fact. Together with the folks at the brewery in Entlebuch - a village named just like the entire region - he developed a cheese that combines both the creaminess so typical for all of Renggli’s cheeses as well as the robust, earthy flavors of beer.

To wash a cheese with beer during its ripening time certainly isn’t new. Yet, five months of this noble affinage turn Hop on Top into a mighty fine cheese full of taste and character. But it is the finishing touch that ultimately makes it special. Renggli coats the wheels with the dried and ground remains of the beer barrel. Dark and coarse the cheeses turn, with a big nose of grain.

Hop on Top is produced of thermalized milk from cows grazing in the “Entlebuch Biosphäre” (bio sphere), a vast area protected by UNESCO because of its wholesomeness and role model status. The meadows are considered mountain land, some are located above 3,000 feet. Renggli’s dairy can be found high above the village of Schüpfheim, to which it belongs, on 2,800 feet elevation. 16 farmers working and living within a diameter of 2.5 miles deliver slightly over 900 gallons of milk daily.