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What goes great with beer besides fried chicken, pizza, patios, good company, and more beer? The answer is cheese of course. It might not be the first thing that comes to mind but a nice cheese is something that can really enhance your beer drinking experience. People love eating cheese with bread, so why not with liquid bread? Some even think beer pairs better with cheese than wine does, due to its carbonation and variety of flavors. There are so many types of beer, and there’s a perfect cheese to pair with each one. Maybe it should be the other way around actually, cheese is so versatile the same one can pair with many different kinds of beer.
There’s some rules to pairing but it can also be relatively free form. For example, you can pair beer with cheese that have similar or contrasting flavor notes and both can be delicious. Sometimes it’s not the flavors that need to match, but the strength of the flavors. Strong beer goes with strong cheese, light cheese with light beer, etc. This is why some swear by the combination of an imperial stout and a stilton blue cheese. Seems strange to some, but the intensity of both flavors actually work very well together. It’s really up to you to find beer and cheese you like together but we’ll give you a simple guide here to start you off.
Strong Blue Cheese: The salty strong flavors of blue cheese can go well with a number of different beers. Like we said earlier the combination of blues and imperial stouts is a favorite but they can also pair well IPAs. Of the beers we deliver at Hopsy we recommend pairing blue cheese with Carnage Triple IPA from Black Diamond Brewing Co. and Moylan Dragoon’s Dry Irish Stout from Moylan’s Brewery. The intensity of these beers match the intensity of strong blue’s well.
Fresh Goat Cheese: Fresh goat cheese goes well with lighter, citrusy beers like wheat beers, Kolsch, and Saison’s. The citrus in these bairs pairs well with light airy flavor of fresh goat cheeses. For pairing with fresh goat cheese we would recommend the Orange Wheat from Freewheel Brewing Company or the Not for Sale Saison from the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company.
Cheddar and Gouda: The age of the cheese can really effect what beers it will pair well with. If it’s aged with caramel notes, then it will pair well with a malty beer with caramel notes like a brown ale. Cheddar is also often paired with IPA’s but it is important to match the sharpness of the cheddar with the hoppiness of the beer. For an aged cheddar or gouda we recommend Moylan’s Kilt Lifter from Moylan’s Brewery and for sharp cheddar we recommend the East Bay IPA from Ale Industries.
Brie: Brie is sweet, rich, nutty, and earthy and these flavors can be compared and contrasted with a number of different beers. A Saison or a wheat beer’s citrus tones can match well with the sweet richness in brie. A milder IPA or a pale ale will cut the fat of a brie and contrast well with the brie’s sweetness without overwhelming it. There’s a lot of different beers that can be enjoyed with brie but we recommend Ironbridge Gold from Freewheel Brewing Company.