Ideas for Pairing Cheese with Beer
I’m originally from Wisconsin, which explains my love of cheese, but like some Wisconsinites I have another love—beer. I like to try many kinds of beer and have a wide appreciation for all the different flavors, just like I do for cheese.
While wine and cheese pairings get most of the love, I think pairing beer and cheese offers the same level of flavor experience and adventure. The cheese can enhance the flavor and experience of drinking beer and vice versa.
Something fun we do when we entertain friends is to share a cheese plate with three to four cheeses and open a selection of our favorite beers. We sample the different beer styles with some of the cheeses to find each of our favorite cheese with beer pairings.
A couple things to keep in mind when pairing cheese with beer: Have a variety of cheese types and beer styles for pairing and match the cheese flavor with the beer flavor intensity. This means pair a bold cheese like aged cheddar with an IPA-style beer or a mild mozzarella with a crisp Pilsner.
For those who like milder cheese, try pairing Havarti with wheat beer. The slightly fruity and citrus flavors of the beer complement the sweet and buttery flavor of the cheese.
A unique flavor experience is pairing your favorite pepper jack cheese with a chocolate stout beer. The combination of the spicy and chocolate flavors gives the impression of a mole sauce. I describe it as warm and rich and is one of my favorites.
Aged cheddar is very versatile and can pair with several beer styles, but I like to have it with strong IPA. The bold flavors from both the cheese and beer stand up to one another with the bitter flavors complementing each other and giving an even more complex flavor.
Try pairing Brie with a hard cider; it is like eating Brie with tart apples. This is a nice option for the non-beer drinkers (my wife makes me invite them) to enjoy some of the tasting adventure.
For more cheese-inspired tips, check out this post on spicy cheeses.