Home Brew Bloggers on April 24, 2020 0 Comments Don’t let the classic concept of a wine and cheese tasting keep you from letting your taste buds roam free with craft beer and cheese. While personal taste always rules supreme, certain palates may find beer, particularly craft beers, a superior way to rejuvenate the taste buds between a sharp and a mild nibble of cheese. Cheese and beer also naturally complement one another and are capable of bringing new flavors to the front with different pairings. But what if you’re new to the game? Which beer is best with which cheese? This guide will help you make good decisions using the craft beers at your disposal. About Beer and Cheese The yeasty flavor of beer, its carbonation and the unique flavors mingling in various craft brews provide a cleansing and complementing element for cheese in all its guises. Cheeses range beyond mild and sharp to include a variety of options, including fresh and ripe offerings with pungent, salty, or spicy edges. Textures also vary among the cheeses with creamy options, crumbly bricks, and fatty cheeses that linger on the roof of the mouth. Essential pairings require marrying scents and flavors to partner nose with aroma. The make-up of the cheeses will help inform which beer you choose and vice-versa. Goat Cheeses and Pilsners The malt-flavors in a quality pilsner help it pair with a variety of delicate cheeses, including goat cheese. Goat cheese is also known as chevre and is available in many flavors and textures — the same as cow’s milk-based cheeses. A pilsner works best with fresh goat cheese with a creamy texture. If you have trouble picturing what that means in a goat cheese, picture the standard crumbles you may find on a white pizza or garnishing a salad in a fine restaurant. Let the creamy taste of the cheese settle in your mouth and take a sip of pilsner as an accent. If flavored cheeses are more your speed, a goat cheese with a lemon edge also works well with pilsners with complimentary notes. You may also consider pairing other craft beers with a fruity note to complement a chevre sampler. Blue Cheese and IPA Blue cheese is not always a fan favorite, particularly outside a cheese tasting. However, it can be a great pairing with an India Pale Ale. An IPA beer features the distinctive taste of hops — whether they are fruit-flavored, floral, or earthy. The pungent scent of a blue cheese sometimes conceals a complex flavor that helps prepare the taste buds for savoring the flavor or hops in the IPA. Meanwhile, the IPA beer helps you embrace the full flavor of the blue cheese. For some, this may up the enjoyment of blue cheese, but others may never acclimate to the scent, taste and texture combination. For the anti-blue cheese crowd, offer an alternate for IPA pairings. Good seconds include a muenster, spicy pepper jack, or Monterey jack cheese, or a high-fat cheese like brie, Swiss or cheddar. For a touch of something new, add a Roquefort made from sheep’s milk. Fresh Cheeses and Sour Ale Fresh cheeses have a place at every cheese tasting, and they pair very well with more acidic brews capable of counteracting their less complex flavors. While some beers bring out the flavor in cheese, fresh cheeses help bring out the flavor in beer. In the United States, fresh mozzarella purchased from a deli is a bit different than grocery store bricks. It is softer and more moist, making it a good pairing for sour delights like a Belgian lambic or a Flanders red ale. You can also consider a burrata — an Italian cheese — for pairing with a sour ale. Burrata is a unique pairing of mozzarella and cream. From the outside, it is solid mozzarella while the inside is cream and a buffalo milk cheese. The full range of textures present in the cheese explode in the mouth and let the flavors of the ale fully emerge. Rules of Thumb Specific pairings aside, your beer-and-cheese night can flex a bit. Follow a few basic guidelines for other pairings: Hard cheeses are good with a variety of craft beers and make an easy entry point for new connoisseurs of either craft beer or cheese. British cheeses go with British beers. Natural rind cheeses and cheddars pair nicely with the beers from the home country. Because cheddar is a familiar friend for many, partner it with a Scottish ale, Irish reds or a stout for an easy, flexible option. For a less powerful contrast than sour ale, make fresh cheeses available with pale lagers and wheats. Whether you’re a new sampler or a connoisseur, craft beer and cheese offer an endless number of pairings to experiment with to find your personal taste preference.