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.