You know that cheeses pair very well with wines. But have you ever thought about harmonizing beer and cheese? Although new to some, cheese with beer has been around for a long time. It is successful in countries such as Great Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, which have always produced high quality cheeses. However, due to adverse climate and soil conditions, they cannot grow grapes for wine fermentation. On the other hand, these countries have a tradition in the manufacture of special beers for centuries. Considered a versatile drink, beer is as interesting as wine when it comes to pairing with cheese.
Why beers are perfect for pairing with cheese?
The harmony between beer and cheese is fantastic for several reasons. Carbonation plays a key role in clearing the taste buds and cutting the fat off the cheese. Here, beer has an advantage over wine, which has no carbonation. Alcohol, acidity and bitterness balance the creaminess and buttery touch of the cheese. Beer is the real liquid bread, which goes perfectly with dairy products. In beers we find aromas and flavors very similar to those of cheeses, such as the aromas of walnuts, chestnuts, almonds, and caramel. Along with the sweetness, the bitterness is also responsible for the balance of the beer. It also makes the beer refreshing and stimulates the appetite. When combined with food, it gives certain freshness and cuts the fat that covers our taste buds.
The best tips for not making mistakes
With so many possibilities, you must be careful when setting up your cheese board and don’t make mistakes when harmonizing beer and cheese. The idea is to start the tasting with beer, which prepares your taste buds in the mouth. Next, you taste the cheese and again the beer to close the cycle. Water must always be present during the tasting. It will be very useful to cleanse the palate and soothe alcohol.
Light beers go well with fresh cheeses like ricotta, feta, mozzarella, which are just as light. The dark beers are well harmonized with hard cheeses. The famous wheat beers are ideal to pair with cheeses such as ricotta, cottage, cream cheese and feta. Smoked cheeses have complex flavors and combine very well with beers of the same type: made from smoked malts. Soft white cheeses, such as Brie, and Camembert, are cheeses that combine very well with jellies and that is why they match perfectly with fruit beer.
And so, which beer goes with which cheese?
The general tip, to make no mistake, is to combine beer and cheese according to the strength of flavor. The formula is – for soft beers you need soft cheese, and for strong cheese you need strong beer. Other combinations outside this line are possible and often excellent. It depends on the taste of each one. In general, you can follow –
- Delicate, light beers with fresh, smooth cheeses.
- Malted beers with matured cheeses and almond notes.
- Hoppy beers, therefore more bitter, with saltier, sour, sour cheeses.
- Strong beers with a higher sugar residual with blue cheeses.