Exploring Beer & Cheese? 7 Things To Know About The Pairing

For summer brunches, give the wine and cheese combination a miss and go for beer and wine. Turns out not only is this a winning combination but it’s also quite nuanced in terms of taste. Many styles of beer, particularly sour and acidic varieties like lambics or sour ales, contain acidity that can complement the tanginess of certain cheeses. The balanced acidity in both the beer and the cheese can create a harmonious pairing, with each element enhancing the other without overwhelming the palate.

The bitterness of hops in beer can balance out the richness of creamy cheeses, and the sweetness of malt can complement the saltiness of aged cheeses. Moreover, the carbonation in beer acts as a palate cleanser, cutting through the richness of cheese and refreshing the taste buds. If you’re thinking of exploring this summer pairing, keep these pointers in mind.

Look for contrasting flavours

When pairing beer and cheese, it's essential to consider the flavour profiles of both elements. Beers can range from light and crisp to dark and robust, while cheeses span the spectrum from mild and creamy to sharp and pungent. Look for complementary flavours that enhance each other's characteristics. For example, a malty amber ale can complement the nuttiness of a Gouda, while a hoppy IPA can contrast beautifully with the creaminess of a triple-cream Brie.

Balance the intensity

Achieving balance is key when pairing beer and cheese. Aim to match the intensity of the beer with the intensity of the cheese to prevent one from overpowering the other. For bold and assertive cheeses like aged cheddar or blue cheese, opt for equally robust beers such as stouts or barleywines. Conversely, lighter cheeses like fresh mozzarella or goat cheese pair well with lighter beers such as pilsners or wheat ales.

Texture matters

Texture plays a crucial role in beer and cheese pairing, as it can enhance the overall mouthfeel and sensory experience. Creamy cheeses like Brie or Camembert pair well with beers that have a smooth and velvety texture, such as porters or cream ales. Conversely, crumbly cheeses like aged Parmesan or feta can complement the effervescence of beers with lively carbonation, such as Belgian-style ones or sparkling ales.

Experiment with Contrasts

While seeking harmonious pairings is essential, don't be afraid to experiment with contrasting flavours and textures. Sometimes, opposites attract, and contrasting elements can create exciting flavour combinations that tantalize the taste buds. For example, pairing a tangy, citrus-forward IPA with a rich and buttery triple-cream cheese can create a delightful contrast of flavours that harmonize beautifully on the palate.

In summer, temperature is key

The temperature at which beer and cheese are served can significantly impact their flavours and aromas. Beers are typically best served slightly chilled, while cheeses are often served at room temperature to allow their flavours to fully develop. However, certain styles of beer and cheese may benefit from specific serving temperatures. Experiment with different serving temperatures to find the ideal combination for your palate.