Monday, 26 March 2012

Cheese & Beer Pairing

Cheese and Beer Pairing?  Too good to be true?  Read on!

Just why does wine seem to lord it over beer?  Could it be the fact that wine pairs so darn well with the greatest culinary - cheese?  Well, guess again.  It turns out cheese goes great with beer!  Those us who enjoy a good Cheatos and beer lunch knew this all the time, but now it's official, according to Huffington Post's fine article on beer-and-cheese pairing.

Here are some recommended pairings:
  • Pale Ales are often the first step beyond the routine mass produced beers and for good reason, their extra hops lend the beer a unique realm of flavor: there are floral, pine and fruity notes depending on the geographic origin of the hops. These beers also tend to be aggressive in their finish, so the best way to balance their flavor is with a cheese that conveys a complex sweetness like Wilde Weide, an Aged Gouda. Its overtones of caramel and butterscotch will balance the beer nicely.
  • With their aggressive flavors and barnyard aromas, washed rind cheeses like Grayson, Epoisses and Winnimere, pair best with beers that are somewhat on the sweet side like Belgian Dubbels. Some of the best and most readily available of these include Chimay Premiere (red label), Ommegang, Smuttynose Winter Ale and Maredsous 8.
  • Soft ripened cheeses like brie and Camembert, Brillat Savarin, Kunik and Pierre Robert, are rich and creamy in texture and brimming with overtones of root vegetables, cauliflower and other delights. I think they pair best with the light sweetness of Saisons, especially Brooklyn Sorachi Ace, Saison Dupont, Pretty Things Jack D'Or and Stillwater Cellar Door.
  • With their nutty flavors and gentle grassiness, alpine cheeses, especially Gruyere, Comte and many delightful if harder to find wonders like Fricalin, Wildspitz Bio and Beaufort, are ideal beer companions. They have the body to stand up to a Porter or Stout and the sweetness and balance to pair with ESB, lager or Pilsner.
  • Lastly, what do you do with a blue? In general the sweeter the beer, some Belgian Trippels, for instance, Stouts, and the like, the more apt the beer is to handle the earthiness and pepper of a blue.

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