NEWS RELEASE: Sly Fox Brewing Company

Sly Fox makes a splash with regional cheesemaker

Pottstown, PA -May 2, 2014 – Entrepreneur, Eran Wajswol is full of amazing ideas. Caring for 600 sheep, 150 goats, 50 cows and hundreds of lambs, his Valley Shepherd Creamery is an ambitious enterprise and popular craft cheesemaker. The Morris County, New Jersey farm even dynamited a 120-foot-deep hole into the side of a mountain to create a proper cheese-aging cave.

Valley Shepherd CreameryWajswol's twelve-year-old dairy operation, situated on 120 acres in Long Valley, New Jersey, distributes to hundreds of New York and Philadelphia chefs and maintains a presence at dozens of farmer's markets.

Valley Shepherd has consumer outlets at their farm, in revitalized Park Slope, New York and Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market– both of which have expanded into restaurants. Meltkraft, creates artisan grilled cheese sandwiches among other delicious offerings and boasts notable selections of craft beer on draught.

The intimate relationships that Valley Shepherd Creamery has formed with regional craft breweries recently gave owner Eran Wajswol one of his big ideas.

"The wash of the cheese rind encourages the growth of certain bacteria that affect the taste, smell and character of the cheese," says Wajswol. "We decided to use beer because of our great relationship with the breweries we represent in the restaurant."

Valley Shepherd Creamery is currently making a Gouda-like or Edam-like cheese whose rinds are being coated with Sly Fox Brewing Company's Ichor.

Ichor is an Abbey-style quadruple brewed with German Pils and roast malts and dark candi sugar, hopped with German Tradition hops. Like cheese, Ichor improves with careful aging.

Sly Fox Beer Ichor"About thirty wheels of medium sized Gouda cheese molds have been aging in the cave for more than three months," explained Wajswol.  The conditions of the rinds were carefully monitored for tackiness and color, and when it started to dry, more Ichor was applied.

The creative farmer, who sells a popular variety called Melter Skleter, decided to name the cheese Fox Blood, a veiled reference to Ichor, the supposed blood of the gods in Greek mythology. Initial signs had portended an excellent cheese with a sticky, orangey rind.

"It was a good indication of the internal goings-on inside this batch," says Wajswol. "The same bacteria that caused this external condition were inside the cheese and even though slightly intoxicated from the beer, were busy making the paté soft, smooth and slightly smelly as it should be."

Unlike beer, whose production is much less variable, everything from temperature to the diet of the cows contributes to the final cheese product. The summer Valley Shepherd Creamery cave temperatures reach 56º and the milk used is from cows feeding on grass while in the winter the cave is a constant 50º and the cows are on hay.

It's said that no two cheese batches are the same but, with a professional craft operation and precise production, they can be very close. Wajswol strikes one as, not only extremely adventurous and creative, but precise in his craft.

"We didn't know how good it was going to be until we tried it," adds Wajswol who once cured a cheese by wrapping it in brandy-soaked grape leaves. "We're expanding from cheesemakers into restaurateurs and we're open to trying new things."

Valley Shepherd Fox Blood is now available at their outlet in Reading Terminal Market and will soon arrive at the Park Slope location.

About Sly Fox Brewing Company
Sly Fox Brewing Company is a state-of-the-art regional craft production brewery with an adjoining tasting room in Pottstown, PA opened in 2012 to complement their 18 year-old brewpub in nearby Phoenixville, PA. With current distribution in six states including Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, Sly Fox has continued to grow in popularity since their first brew in 1995.