Brick is a Wisconsin original, first made by John Jossi around 1877. Some brick cheeses resemble Germany's surface-ripened beer cheese or beer käse. Brick was named for its shape and because cheesemakers originally used bricks to press the moisture from the cheese. Wisconsin leads the nation in the production of brick and surface-ripened brick. The bacteria that cheesemakers apply to surface-ripened cheeses, known as a smear, helps to develop the full, earthy flavor that has just a touch of nuttiness when young but turns pungent and tangy when aged.


Ivory to creamy yellow


Smooth, open texture


Mild: sweet, with a touch of nuttiness Aged: pungent, tangy Dry rind: mild to pungent, depending on age Washed rind: mild to pungent, depending on whether it is mild, medium or aged

Serving Suggestions

Mild brick makes excellent macaroni and cheese, potatoes au gratin or hash browns with cheese. Aged brick adds flavor to all types of sandwiches. Try mild brick with sautéed onions and stone ground mustard on rye bread, with pickled vegetables on the side. Top toasted Italian bread with asparagus, ham and Wisconsin brick; broil and serve open face.

Goes Well With

Mild brick: Gamay Beaujolais or other light red wines, sweet pickles Aged brick: Robust beers such as Porter style ale or bock lagers, hard cider, onions, dark bread


Wisconsin cheesemakers produce brick in mild, medium and aged varieties, plain or flavored with caraway and hot peppers. They also make brick cheeses that are Kosher and/or organic. Brick cheese is made in 6- and 10-pound loaves; 8-ounce and random-weight pieces are also available.

Performance Note

This cheese should be well chilled before cutting into square or rectangular pieces. Score the foil of surface-ripened brick before cutting. Remove the rind from washed-rind brick; it is bitter and not intended to be eaten.

  Cold Surface Broil Oven (in recipe) Oven (surface) Direct Heat (in suspension)