Commercial Beers -- Blind Tasting Comments...
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Alpharetta / Cumming, GA
Fort Collins, CO
Minneapolis, St. Paul
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New Orleans, LA 1999
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New York, NY
Germany: Munich, Bamberg,
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Salt Lake City, UT
Globe Bar, Athens, GA.
|How does one begin to choose a beer to pair with a
There are several lines of thought here. A beer that is lighter
body and flavor would be a perfect marriage to a mild, mellow cheese;
conversely, a dark, rich ale would stand up well to a heavier, more
cheese. Many people prefer their beer and cheese to have similar
flavors, while others look for more contrast to keep the taste buds at
attention. Beer and cheese from the same country also tend to work well
together. If it is popular to have a certain style of wine with a
certain type of cheese, give some thought to which beer may be a close
approximation to that wine. With beer and cheese, experimentation is
of the fun.
Try a Pilsner Urquell with a mellow white Cheddar
two compliment each other so well and produce a beautiful blend of
butter-like flavors in the mouth. It makes sense that the Pilsner
style lager that is so popular around the world would go so well with
of the world's most well known lighter cheeses.
Asiago is a wonderful cheese that is experiencing new
notoriety in cooking
circles. Asiago is a semifirm Italian cow's milk cheese that
a somewhat nutty flavor. Nibble on some Asiago while sipping a
brown ale for a smooth, nutty flavor blend that is close to
Some Asiago can be quite sharp with its strong aroma and flavor; the
brown ale tends to mellow the cheese.
A malty beer would also be tasty with a bit of
is a creamy, unpasteurized cheese from Switzerland with a flavor that
to start out somewhat light and fruity and end up nutty and
A malty Bock, Munich Dunkel, or Oktoberfest would be a great beer match
to the rich flavor of this cheese.
The hop flavor and bitterness of a classic pale ale tends
to be enhanced
by the smooth flavor and somewhat bread-like texture of
Provolone is a semi-hard, all purpose cheese that can be quite mild
young and more sharp, smoky, and spicy when aged. Cabernet
wine is often served with Provolone, and many would consider the
and bitterness of a good pale ale to be reminiscent of a Cabernet.
If the floral, fruity flavors of a Chardonnay cleanse the
a taste of rich Brie or Camembert cheese, it follows that a German
Belgian blond ale, or French Biere de Garde would accomplish the same
These pale beers have mild to moderate fruity esters produced by their
yeast that are in lovely opposition to the thick, rich, pungent nature
of French Brie. Brie, considered to be a nice dessert cheese, can
also go quite well with a stout.
Banon is a French goat's milk cheese that is wrapped,
cured, and served
in chestnut leaves; it is sometimes washed in Cognac. Banon has a
mild, citrus flavor and a herbal, earthy character from the influence
the leaves. The malty, butterscotch flavors of a Scottish ale
a fantastic compliment to this cheese. Banon, often difficult to
find in local cheese shops, can be ordered from some gourmet sites on
internet and ships fairly well.
Don Feinberg of Vanberg and DeWulf Importers and Brewery
New York is very correct in recommending the ruby red, tart Rodenbach
Ale with a fine French Munster cheese. Rodenbach has flavors of
cherries, oak, and sherry and is a wonderfully complex beer that makes
a perfect contrast to the mild, creamy cheese. Munster forms a
background that allows the intense flavors of the red ale to be
Some beer and cheese combinations can be very
obvious. The flavors
of Chimay Grand Reserve Trappist Ale and Chimay Trappist Cheese
in the mouth are inspiring enough to almost make one want to become a
This creamy cheese is actually washed in the Chimay beer, and together
the cheese and beer reach a new level of flavor and complexity.
flavors of this combination explode with undertones of fruit, nuts,
clove, and other earthy qualities.
Since herbal Sauvignon Blanc wines are often favored with
a Chevre goat
cheese, try a tart, refreshing beer (perhaps with some wheat character)
with this cheese. Chevre boasts a tart, earthy character that
well with a sour Belgian Gueuze Lambic such as Boon, Cantillon, or
Rene from Lindemans. These Lambics have a complex barnyard
that makes a nice counterpart to similar flavors in the cheese.
What could be better than a dry, spicy, mineral-like India
with a dry, spicy, salty Parmigiano Reggiano? Be sure to choose
Italian Parmigiano that is an unpasteurized, hard cheese made from
cow's milk. The aroma of this cheese is fruity and the flavor is
definitely piquant. A chunk of this noble cheese and the hop
and flavor of a fresh IPA make for a superb summer combination.
Mascarpone is a very creamy, buttery Italian soft cheese
made in much
the same way as yogurt. It is added to desserts and flavored with
other ingredients or spread on toast. Mix a bit of chocolate
molasses, or maple syrup with the Mascarpone, spread it on bread or a
and eat it along with a porter or stout. The chocolate and coffee
flavors of the dark beer with the cheese will seem like chocolate cream
pie on the tongue.
If a rich Port wine is needed to stand up to the intense
English Stilton cheese, then a barley wine should also do the
Stilton is a ripened, crumbly blue cheese with blue veins of sharp mold
running throughout. Roquefort and Gorgonzola are similar.
plum, raisin, toffee, and heavy malt components of a fine English
wine meld into an extravagant symphony with these cheeses. Be
to save this combination until last (to save the tastebuds) if sampling
several beers and cheeses in one sitting.
Experiment with different beers and cheeses and find
combinations that suit your palate. Search out top quality
that are authentic from their countries of origin and pair them with
craft brewed beers. Have some friends over for a beer and cheese
tasting of your own. Some people may have a "wine and cheese
can be a bit skeptical; but it is almost guaranteed that, after
these fine brews and elegant cheeses, any bias will crumble.