REDHEAD CREAMERY • Brooten
Alise Sjostrom of Redhead Creamery is not Irish, despite what her freckles and curly red locks might suggest. Her Brooten creamery, however, is near Padua, a tiny community acclaimed for its St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. It was the inspiration behind Lucky Linda, her new aged cheddar.
“We don’t seal it in anything,” she says. “It just sits in our aging room and naturally grows any molds that happen to be in the air. We have a common mold in there, it’s really fun to watch it develop—it’s kind of a green/grey mold. It creates a cool color on the outside of the rind and develops some great flavor characteristics in the cheese.” Lucky Linda will taste savory and meaty, as opposed to the crystalline sweetness of many aged cheddars. Sjostrom is also experimenting with brie and bandaged-wrapped cheddar, and plans to release a cheese this summer washed in Panther Distillery bourbon.
She’s been singularly focused on cheese since high school. After graduating from the U of M with a degree in agricultural studies (emphasis in dairy food quality) Sjostrom cut her chops at Grafton Village Cheese in Vermont and Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese in Wisconsin, among other places. We first tasted her gorgeous cheese curds at the Beer Dabbler Winter Carnival, and they’re now available at Kowalski’s along with several Metro co-ops.
“Our goal as cheesemakers is to only make like four cheeses and get really good at them,” she says. “Not a bunch of flavored cheeses, but ones that really highlight the quality milk we have here on the farm.” Their cows have been bred to produce milk with a slightly higher-than-average fat content, which Sjostrom says lends a distinct creaminess to the finished product.
“We’re part of the dairy industry in so many ways,” she says. “The production side, and the show industry—I was in 4H and we showed our cows at county fairs—and now we’re on the cheese side. We’re passionate about agriculture and dairy, and I just love to share that experience with people.”