7 beer and cheese pairings you need to try

If you ask us, the best way to entertain with minimal effort and maximum deliciousness is a beer and cheese party.

For a few simple pairing tips, we consulted beer and cheese aficionado John David Ryan, of Murray’s Cheese.

One easy way to find a solid pairing is to combine like with like (aka sweet with sweet, savoury with savoury), but sometimes opposites can attract in very tasty ways, and products from similar regions also marry nicely.

Here are seven beer and cheese matches made in heaven.

1. Pilsner and brie

Pilsners are an easy beer for craft and non-craft beer drinkers alike. Ryan suggests pairing this tame beer with a creamy brie. “[Bries] are slightly earthy, maybe a little mushroomy, but rich and buttery,” he explains.

Pilsners to try: Firestone Walker Pivo pils, Victory Prima pils, Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella pils

Bries to try: Brie de Nangis, Chatelain brie, Brie Fermier

2. Saison and goat cheese

Ryan deems goat cheese the perfect fall weather cheese for its light and fluffy texture and creamy, tangy flavour. The saison’s light, slightly earthy taste and citrus notes play off the cheese’s flavour.

Saisons to try: Saison Dupont, Logsdon Seizoe

n Bretta, Crooked Stave Vieille

Goat cheeses to try: Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog, Vermont Creamery’s Bonne Bouche or Cremont, Rivers Edge Chèvre Siltcoos

3. Harvest ale and cheddar

“Harvest ales may be a little bit more amber in colour and have a little more malt, but they’re a very hop-forward beer,” say Ryan. Since hops impart acid to beer, Ryan suggests a sharp cheddar to complement the acidity. “It has a bold, tangy flavour [and] it’s very acidic,” he says of the cheese.

Harvest ales to try: Founders, Southern Tier, Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere

Cheddars to try: Cabot Clothbound, Beecher’s Flagship, Tickler, Mrs. Quicke’s Farmhouse

4. Brown ale and sheep’s milk

This is one of Ryan’s favourite pairings for fall. Brown ales are on the drier side with a slightly sweet, nutty flavour. The fatty, rich, and similarly nutty sheep’s milk marries beautifully with malty brown ales. “The cheese brings the creamy sweetness and the beer brings that nice toastiness and nuttiness to it,” Ryan notes.

Brown ales to try: Bell’s Best Brown Ale, Dogfish Head India Brown, Anchor Brekle’s Brown

Sheeps milk cheeses to try: A
ged manchego, Ossau Iraty Vieille, P’tit Basque

5. Oktoberfest and Gruyère

According to Ryan, traditional German Oktoberfests have a sweetness to them, with clove and cinnamon playing in the background. And since they’re lagers, they have a lighter body. “The Germans say you should be able to drink five litres of Oktoberfest and still want to drink a sixth litre,” says Ryan.

The German cheese pairing for an Oktoberfest beer is Limburger cheese, which tastes faintly of toasted peanuts or burnt bread. But it’s strong flavour isn’t for everyone. A good Gruyère is a lovely pairing that appeals to a broader range of palates.

Oktoberfest beers to try: Spaten, Paulaner, Ayinger, Hofbrau, Erdinger

Gruyeres to try: Murray’s Gruyère

6. Pumpkin beer and aged Gouda

For Ryan, an aged Gouda is the only cheese swe eet and buttery enough to stand up to a pumpkin beer. As the cheese ages, it develops butterscotch and toffee notes. “Aged Gouda is is almost like a drug,” he says of the tiny crystals that form in the cheese and trigger the brain to release the pleasure neurotransmitter dopamine.

Pumpkin beers to try: Schlafly Pumpkin, Central Waters Headless Heron, Dogfish Head Punkin, Southern Tier Pumking

Goudas to try: Roomano, Landana 1000 Days, 5 Year Gouda XO

7. Stout and blue cheese

Going with an opposites attract approach, Ryan pairs “salty, creamy, funky blue cheese” with a “big, bold, sweet stout.” He recommends this pairing for cold winter nights, when you want something rich and a bit heavy.

Stouts to try: Alesmith Speedway, Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break, Maine Mean Old Tom

Blue cheeses to try: Colston Bassett Stilton, Tuxford and Tebbutt stilton, Cambozola Black label, Chiriboga

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