Jay Pierce, Executive Chef for Lucky 32, hosts special events at the restaurant in Cary. I attended “We Want the Funk,” a beer and cheese school, with four of my friends on Thursday evening. Chef Jay and Cheese Monger Sasha Shreders, from Southern Foods, paired beers with cheeses and food accompaniments. The event included six courses and Chef Jay surprised us at the end with a seventh course, a dessert made using cheese! Who would have thought?

The first cheese was Green Hill by Sweet Grass Dairy, located in Thomasville, Ga. The cheese is in the brie family and is a bloomy cheese. Sasha explained the cheese is made using milk from Jersey cows, which is higher in butter fat. The cheese was paired with a Chimay Red Label beer, which is about a 200-year-old beer made by monks in Belgium. The sweet flavors of the beer, cantaloupe and blackberries paired nicely with the creamy cheese.

Another cheese I enjoyed was during the fourth course. Chef Jay is a genius! He made truffled sweet potato chips and BBQ pork rillettes to accompany a Challerhocker cheese from Chas & Co. The cheese sparkled and I swear it was like eating candy. The cheese was paired with Duck Rabbit’s Barley Wine, which has a malty, sweet flavor. Chef Jay likes to call this North Carolina beer “nectar;” I would have to agree. After eating a bite of cheese and then taking a sip of the beer, I could really taste caramel and nutty flavors.

My friends and I were head over heels in love with the truffled sweet potato chips. We told Chef Jay we didn’t get enough on our plates. Ask and you shall receive; Chef Jay brought out a bucket full of more chips!

The sixth course was phenomenal. I’m a huge fan of blue cheese, especially crumbled on top of a salad with apples or other types of fruit. Chef Jay and Sasha brought out a Roquefort cheese from Vieux Berger and paired it with an Abita Vanilla Double Dog Ale. The food accompaniment included a membrillo, which is made from the quince fruit. The sweet flavor of the fruit and vanilla tones in the beer were perfect with this strong, sheep milk blue cheese.

After eating six courses, each with huge chunks of cheese, I didn’t know if I could make room for dessert. Once Chef Jay started explaining the dessert, a cheese upside down cake with a bourbon-macerated cherry, I magically grew a second stomach. The cheese cake was paired with a Sam Adams Norse Legend. Wow, I was a sucker for this beer and dessert!

For thirty bucks we got to hang out with the remarkable Chef Jay who is extremely creative and passionate about using high-quality ingredients at Lucky 32. You should definitely attend one of Lucky 32’s special events. You’ll have fun and learn a lot about food and drink! If you can’t make it to a special event, at least go for dinner. Lucky 32’s menu is outstanding and features local, farm-fresh ingredients.