...on beer and cheese matching
If it weren’t for the whole no-talking-thing, I would bet good money that I was a reincarnation of a Belgian monk from centuries ago, happily, albeit silently, in the monastery making beer and cheese.
Beer and cheese have a long history together and not just with the dutiful Belgian monks of old but over the sea to England where a traditional Ploughman’s lunch may consist of bread, pickles, ham and, of course, some cheese and a beer.
The main reason I love beer and cheese together is the sheer diversity of flavour available in each of them and it’s why they make such a fantastic couple. You can get cheese that’s delicate and soft all the way through to some huge blue cheese so stinky in flavour you’re not sure if you should put it in your fridge with the other food. Same goes for beer, you can get a beer that’s light and crisp and you can also find a beer that is the boldest of the bold. With such a wide spectrum of flavour it’s no wonder you’d be hard pressed to find a beer that couldn’t be paired with a cheese or vice versa.
You might be reading this and thinking, ‘hey, what about wine?’ and I’d say to you just one word - ‘bubbles’.
The magic of carbonation gives beer the upper hand when it comes to pairing with cheese over wine. Those wonderfully rich, fatty, thick, tongue coating cheeses are lifted off your palate by the bubbles in beer, allowing the pairing to shine together, to really work together. Poor old wine just can’t do that.
There are almost no rules when it comes to pairing beer and cheese and you don’t have to be a Masterchef winner to put together a wonderful combination at home. Find a nice place to buy cheese, it might even be your local IGA, and a good bottle shop and you’re most of the way there. The only guideline I’d recommend are to consider intensity by pairing big bold beers with big bold cheeses and the more delicate subtle beers with delicate cheeses.
Somewhere to start ...
Reypenaer VSOP with something bold and hoppy, such as an amber ale or IPA
The Reypenaer is a traditional gouda from the Netherlands aged for over two years, the result is an intensely flavoured cheese that I find caramelly, buttery, salty and a little nutty with sharp fruity notes. A well hopped amber ale or IPA will have a great complement of hop character with the fruity zing in the cheese whilst the caramel and buttery notes should highlight the sweeter malt character in the beer.
Meredith Chevre with something more delicate such as a kolsch
This is one of my long go-to beer and cheese pairings that showcase the brightness and zest I get from both a chevre and a kolsch. The Meredith Chevre is an Australian goat’s milk cheese with a beautiful tanginess and fruitiness that,when paired with a Kolsch, seems to emphasise the bright citrusy Kolsch flavours whilst also coaxing out the light grainy malt sweetness.
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