Beer and Cheese Pairings - A Gift From the Gods

Beer and Cheese Pairings - A Gift From the Gods was created by Biggie

Beer and Cheese Pairings - A Gift From the Gods



“Wait, did you say beer?”

“Indeed I did.”

“I thought cheese went with wine?”

“You don’t know what you’re missing…”


Now, I’m not talking Bud Light and Velveeta here… I’m talking about real beer, in all its hoppy glory, and real cheese, the stuff that doesn’t contain the words “cheese product” in its name. Beer can actually be easier to pair with cheese than wine (especially when it comes to reds), and if you ask around, you’ll get varying opinions as to why this is.

Some feel that beer and cheese are a natural pairing that begins at the source; grass. Brewers use barley grass to make their beers; cows eat grass and make the milk that makes the cheese. This theory is a bit of a stretch for me… but I will concede that it could be a contributing factor to the similar aromas and flavors that can be detected in beer and cheese. Another, slightly more plausible, theory revolves around the craft itself. Both beer-brewing and cheese-making are artisan crafts, at times even made by the same artisan (just ask the monks!). Both are fermented and aged, and the microflora used in the fermentation process greatly affects the flavors of both. The point behind these theories is that beer and cheese have flavors and nuances that compliment each other, rather than fight with each other, making them excellent companions.

For me, one of the biggest factors in a successful beer and cheese pairing, rather than wine and cheese, is… the bubbles. The carbonation found in beer cuts through cheese in a way that most wines just can’t. When you eat a piece of cheese, it coats your palate, making it difficult to really taste your wine. Is the cheese making a cheap wine drinkable? Or is it making a good wine taste unremarkable? Hard to tell. A beer, on the other hand, will take that cheese and break through it, allowing the flavors to mix and mingle, each bringing out subtleties of the other, each bringing out the best in the other… like a beautiful marriage.

Fortunately for Biggie customers, you have some excellent resources available to you as you make your way through the taste bud-thrilling world of beer and cheese pairings:

Skylar – Bonafide Beer God,
Jon M. – Reformed Cheesemonger, new to the Biggie family, and
Me – Cheese and Beer Enthusiast, Extraordinaire (if I do say so myself)

Here’s some suggested pairings to get you started, with beers available at Biggie Wine & Liquor (you’re on your own for the cheese):

Stout and Aged Gouda – This is one of my all time faves, and a great place to start for those who might be doubting the beer & cheese thing. Look for a well-aged gouda, at least 18 months; if you can find one that’s 3 or 4 years, so much the better. Try it with a chocolately stout like Youngs Double Chocolate Stout, or a spicy stout like Old Rasputin Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing.

Barleywine and Stilton – Ok, so we can’t technically call barleywine a beer, but let’s face it, it’s definitely not wine. This pairing is a delight for the senses… the tanginess of the barleywine breaks right through the earthiness of the stilton. If you can’t find stilton, look for any rich, earthy, and musty blue and try it with Old Ruffian from Great Divide or Hog Heaven from Avery.

Cheddar and Pilsner – This one is like the meat and potatoes of beer and cheese pairings; it’s got mass appeal, and it’s hard to go wrong. Break away from your usual go-to cheddar and look for a nice English or Irish aged cheddar and try it with Mama’s Little Yella Pils from Oskar Blues or Pilsner Urquell.

Goat Cheese and IPA – Look for a nice cave-aged goat, rather than a fresh one. If you can find it, Humboldt Fog from Cypress Grove is among the best for this pairing. It’s elegant and soft, yet strong enough to stand up to a bold IPA. Pick some up and try it with Rumble, a seasonal from Great Divide, or Racer 5 from Bear Republic.

Chimay and Chimay – The Trappist Monks made this one easy for us. Look for the Chimay cheese with the maroon label; the rind has been bathed in Chimay beer, making it an obvious companion for the beer. Choose whichever Chimay beer you like; you won’t be disappointed. (Bonus! Try sprinkling a little celery salt on your cheese… this is the way they do it at the pubs in Belgium)

There are endless pairing possibilities beyond these suggestions; don’t be afraid to branch out on your own! Better yet, tell us which pairings you’ve tried and enjoyed so we can share them with others.

P.S. One more good reason to pair your cheese with beer? Price. You can find a really great, high-end beer for a lot less than a really great, high-end wine. This is especially important when hosting a tasting…


Jennifer

(Jennifer is a New York transplant who works part time at Biggie Liquor, full time in an office, and wishes it were the other way around)

Biggie Wine and Liquors
303.816.9013
We are in the King Soopers Shopping Center


Jon Guelzow is the owner of Biggie Liquors the largest provider of wine, beer and spirits along the 285 corridor. Pete has 25 years experience in liquor and Jon has 15 years. Best prices, best selection and knowledgeable staff. Come on by and see us!

Any questions about wine, beer or spirits for Jon, email . .
Last edit: 20 Aug 2010 18:08 by Biggie.
19 Aug 2010 15:46 #1

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Replied by EddieWess on topic Beer and Cheese Pairings - A Gift From the Gods

Last year at my mostly yearly sojourn to Song School in Lyons, CO I attended the soon to be traditional Come to Cheeses party and paired my home brewed Pale Ale with some Maytag Blue Cheese. WOW, WOW and WOW! If you've never had the maytag cheeses, run to Google and get you some. You will thank me later!
20 Aug 2010 09:29 #2

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Replied by JMC on topic Beer and Cheese Pairings - A Gift From the Gods

EddieWess wrote: Last year at my mostly yearly sojourn to Song School in Lyons, CO I attended the soon to be traditional Come to Cheeses party and paired my home brewed Pale Ale with some Maytag Blue Cheese. WOW, WOW and WOW! If you've never had the maytag cheeses, run to Google and get you some. You will thank me later!

Maytag is my favorite but I never thought to pair with Pale Ale, Would like to try this with some crusty bread, sounds like lunch.
23 Aug 2010 07:40 #3

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