How to Pair Cheese and Beer

Centuries ago, the monks that lived in monasteries developed the craft of making beer and cheese that gave rise to washed-rind cheeses using beer (that’s a whole other blog!) and since that tradition continues there has to be something special to it. And, there is. Okay, since your interest is now peaked, here is a tad on wash-rind cheese – some cheese are “washed” meaning they are literally washed by-hand with a brine that can include wine or beer or spirits and this fosters the growth of molds that helps the cheese develop deeper flavor and an aroma that classifies these cheeses as “stinky”. One way to pick them off is to spot usually an orange-colored rind.

Beer, like wine, is fermented. But, unlike wine, beer has a gas that can offer a whole new dimension to cheese pairings, plus it doesn’t clash with saltier cheeses as the tannins in red wine can do. Also, because of the effervescence in beer, it acts as a palette refresh from the creaminess experienced with eating cheeses like double and triple-crème cheeses, or soft goat’s milk cheeses too.

So, with beer in mind and to build a companion cheese platter, if you are an ally of ales, a pal of porters, brethren to brown brews, or a lover of lagers here are some cheeses we are offering as perfect pairings with beers produced by the FX Matt/Saranac Brewery in the same town where we ship our cheeses. Soon we will be offering curated collections of these cheeses and beers from Saranac in the same shipment – because of laws in place we can only deliver this expertise to customers residing in New York State.

A rich cow’s Bavarian-style cheese coated with organic flowers and herbs with a woodsy aroma reminiscent of a walk in the park or a hike.

Doubleday's Choice
A cow’s milk cheese made in Cooperstown, NY when baseball is at its peak and washed two-times a week with apple cider in the first seven weeks after the cheese was made to give it a distinct aroma and flavor.

Cheddar, Artisanal 2-Year Aged
A Vermont classic this cheddar is aged for 2 two years and has all you would want in an American cheddar cheese – creaminess, slight tart, wholesome aroma and so versatile as a snack or to use in cooking.

Gouda, 4-Year-Old
It’s four-years-old and has a sweet aftertaste like butterscotch. How can sweetness be part of a cheese four years old? When the curds and whey are separated when cheese is made, most of the lactose (natural sugars from an animal’s milk) are washed away in the whey, but the amount that remains in the curds over time with aging crystalizes and gives that slight “crunch” that releases the milk sugars and leaves you with an amazing sweet aftertaste.

Hoja Santa
Leaf-wrapped cheeses add a whole new dimension to cheeses in appearance and flavor. One, on a cheese platter, a leaf-wrapped cheeses captures immediate attention so read the Fromager Notes we include to be well-versed. Leaves, like the Hoja Santa leaf used in this cheese can impart flavor like licorice or anise and a pleasing aroma to add to the creaminess of this soft goat’s milk cheese.

Fourme d'Ambert
I love this blue cheese because... it’s like eating chewy fudge. It’s creamy but has substance to it giving it a nice bite, but as a “cow’s milk” blue cheese its doesn’t have the stronger blue cheese taste you will find in a classic blue cheese like Roquefort. In fact, it has a milkier taste to it with a nice finish of blue.

I love Artisanal Cheese and enjoy sharing it even more – you can Taste the Difference!


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