How to combine beers and cheeses

How to combine beers and cheeses

Cheese is a typical product of the Mediterranean area as another great excellence, wine. Wine and cheese as known is a great pairning. But what if we told you that craft beer is also perfectly matched to cheese?

The tendency to pair beer and cheese was born in countries like Germany and England, where beer is a protagonist. The results? When the pairing are good made, they are truly stunning. 

In short, if we combine the right wine with the right cheese the pairing will be a winner, if we combine the wrong wine the result will not satisfy our palate. The same goes for beer. Each type of beer has its aromatic characteristics, its aromas and its taste and cannot be married with a random cheese.

Each type of cheese has its beer

Pairing food is a “science” that analyzes the characteristics of two products and couples them, creating a pleasant balance. One of the most important characteristics of beer is its bitterness. Here is the first rule: if a cheese has bitter notes in itself, we should not combine it with a particularly bitter beer, because it would create an imbalance of flavors that would tend to bitter. 

The same thing applies to acid. There are sour beers that cannot be paired with cheeses with a marked acidity. Instead dark beers with a slight smoky note but not too full of flavor combine very well with cheeses with a delicate flavor because the smoky note tends to give substance to the combination. 

The suggestion we give you is just a sort of general vade mecum. Of course the aromatic characteristics vary from beer to beer and from cheese to cheese. In general the Lager can be well combined for general characteristics to fresh cheeses, but it is always necessary to look at the peculiar notes of the single beer and the single cheese. In short, here we do not give you the mathematically perfect match between beer and cheese, but we help you by giving you a few rules to follow to find a winning combination.

Fresh cheeses, soft or spun cheeses

These cheeses are usually fatty and tend to be sweet, but with a weak aromatic content. Therefore the beer to combine must be light, bitter and not too intense flavors.  Beer for this type of cheeses:

  • Lager
  • Pilsner
  • Bock

Aged cheeses

More matured cheeses has more intense aromatic characteristics. Even the beer must be more substantial. Therefore a seasoned pecorino must be paired with a beer with a higher alcohol content and higher fermentation. For more mature pecorino, goat and sheep cheeses we recommend combining beers like:

  • Ale
  • Weisse
  • Stout

Spicy and blue cheeses

The last speech to make is about blue cheeses, blue and spicy cheeses in general. Their aromatic strength is intense and persistent, the beer to match must have an equal aromatic strength and a cleaning effect in the mouth. The beers that can have these characteristics are the prestigious beers of the Belgian abbeys of the Trappist friars who, with their alcoholic contents, their intense fruity notes are the only ones that can keep up the blue cheeses combining them in a surprisingly alcoholic way