Beer and cheese pairings are among the most iconic pairings in food culture. It's easy to see why, both are decadent and delicious. Well, that is assuming you treat yourself to craft cheese and beer ... not the processed Kraft cheeses and light beers from brands that are best left unnamed.
When considering how to pair cheese and beer, it is essential to match the intensity of the beer with the intensity of the cheese flavors. When analyzing the flavor curve of cheese, we often find it to be the inverse of beer, as beer mellows with age whereas cheese matures. Lower intensity beers such as wheat or pale lagers often pair well with fresh cheeses such as mozzarella's or a luxury cream cheese, whereas strong beers best pair with more pungent and aged cheeses.
The measurement of intensity alone does not make an expert pairing, so it's equally important to compliment the notes in the beer. You can take a more research-based approach to pairing intensity, but finding the proper notes takes a certain degree of experience. Practice makes perfect, so we recommend eating as much cheese and drinking as much beer as possible. You know, for research. ;)
Because this would not be a NoCoast blog without NoCoast pairings, once again our brilliant brew crew has come up with our three favorite beer and cheese combinations. And as always, this was the inception of a long and great debate, but at least we could experiment with the pairings in the process.
Yoga Poser & Cheddar
Pale ales tend to age well with semi strong cheeses, such as a cheddar. I frankly find a rich English Westcombe cheddar paired with the Yoga Poser to be one of life's most divine treats. In part, this is an effective pairing because of the bitterness of the hops which is able to penetrate through the high fat content of the cheese. Furthermore the citrus aroma combats some of the overtly "funky" flavors of the cheese creating a near perfect balance.
Take A Chill Pilsner & Mozzarella
It is a simple rule to pair a light flavored beer with a light cheese, but just because these pairings are light does not mean they lack intense depth and substance. Unlike some other pairings there is less contrast and much more complimenting. The fruity aromas behind the Pilsner can compliment a fresh mozzarella. After all, isn't it equally iconic to pair mozzarella with a dry Pinot Grigio?
Trend Bucker & Blue Cheese
Whether you spell it blue cheese or bleu cheese, this salty bitter cheese pairs amazingly with our Trend Bucker Stout. The bitter intensity in both pairs almost like clockwork, whereas the cherry aroma and chocolate caramel notes of the stout contrast against the blue cheese in order to create a truly marvelous pairing.
Fortunately for us all you don't need a doctorate to match beers and cheese. If it tastes right to you and brings you joy, it is an expert pairing. When in doubt try pairing several beers with several cheeses. Everyone has a different flavor palette, and pairing two diverse foods is an art. And as we all know there is no correct way to create art. As long as you find joy in the pairings, consider it a success!
However you enjoy your cheese, enjoy it with a NoCoast. Cheers!