Cheddar is really the province of the English...Montgomery and Keene's are incredible, salty, winey cheddars birthed in the English countryside where cheddar originated.
When I think of Wisconsin cheddar, I inevitable think of the big orange bricks that were shredded onto nachos, slided onto grilled cheese or burgers or melted onto Triscuits in my childhood. Comfort cheese, but not eatin' cheese.
Not so, anymore, with the American artisinal cheese revival comes the rebirth of orange Wisconsin cheddar by Tony and Julia Hook of Mineral Point, Wisconsin. Hook's ten year old cheddar is a thing to behold. The bright orange brick wouldn't look out of place on the supermarket shelf, but the taste is, excuse the expression, off the hook.
Hook's doesn't taste anything like the aforementioned English cheddars. It has a crystallized texture, almost like an aged Gouda, but the taste is pure American cheddar...but on a higher level. It's like a super-cheddar, full of cheddary flavor, but richer, more dense, more intense. It begs to be paired with a good beer...and what's more American than that.
Hook's ten year old cheddar is available at the Cheese Store of Silverlake.