How to Taste Cheese

Beer Cheese PairingTailgating parties have become a full-fledged American tradition where good food and a nice cold beer go hand-in-hand.  Instead of your traditional nachos and chicken wings pairing, why not try something different with a beer and cheese pairing. Like wines, craft beers each have characteristics that marry well with different cheeses.

Not sure how to pair beer and cheese? Here's some pairing suggestions that will have football fans of any team cheering.

The bitter flavors of these type of beers can sometimes be overwhelming, so when pairing look for blue-veined cheeses, such as a mild gorgonzola. The roasty notes found in these types of beers help bring out the sweetness in the cheese and the bubbles help cut through the fat and salt in the cheese to open up the flavors.

Wheat Beer
Look for cheeses with tangy flavors. One classic pairing is fresh goat cheese. The tanginess of the cheese helps bring out the citrus and sweetness of the beer, while the wheat beer also helps compliment the tangy flavors of the goat cheese.

India Pale Ale (IPA)
Look for a strong cheese, such as an aged Asiaggo rubbed with rosemary and olive oil. Neither overpowers the other, which is very important when you have a pairing.

English Ale
The malty and caramel flavors found in a super aged Wisconsin Cheddar make this cheese the ideal candidate for pairing with an English Ale, which also boasts malty and caramel notes. The flavors work in unison and helps bring out the complex flavors of each.

One last tip is to look for balance. Try buying three different types of beer with completely different flavor profiles such as a wheat beer, IPA and a Porter. Then buy a fresh goat cheese, a stinky cheese like a Linburger and some big Cheddar and have your own tasting with your friends. This way, everyone can explore with their own tastings.  Have fun with your friends and keep it simple, they can learn by doing.


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