Beer and Cheese Pairings
When it comes to pairing a beverage with cheese, most people will immediately turn to wine. But would you believe that beer is a suitable substitute? This morning I was on WNBC to share few pairing ideas from the vast selection of cheeses and brews available.
1) 508 GastroBrewery (New York) Cream Ale with Monterey Jack Cheese
This is an introductory beer and cheese pairing. The cream ale from a newly opened brewery inside the 508 restaurant on Greenwhich St. in the city is a smooth well rounded beer with a slight bitterness. Paired with the creamy full textured Jack, the two play in harmony quite well.
2) High Point Brewing Co. (New Jersey) Dunkleweiss with Tomme de Savoie
We’re in Oktoberfest season and the Garden State’s High Point Brewing Co. is respected when it comes to making German Style Beers. Their darker, roasty Dunkel has some notes of chocolate and even coffee from the malts they use. Paired with the Tomme de Savoie (TUM de sah-VWAH )– which has a milky and nutty character – these two are quite complimentary and play off each’s unique flavors.
That’s one thing I think it’s important to note. Beer is a lot more complex than people might realize. There are different types of the main ingredients – hops, malts, yeast – that mimic and draw out various flavors from coffee and chocolate, to citrus and other fruits. These flavors can draw out those in cheese varieties and the results are really quite pleasing.
3) North Coast Brewing Co. (California) Brother Thelonious Abbey Ale with Raw-milk Morbier
This is a Belgian-inspired beer – named in honor of the jazz master – that clocks in at 9.3% alcohol. It is sweet with tastes of dark stone fruits and a little earthy. I’m pairing it with a French raw milk Morbier (MORE-bee-yay) it’s a mild, and also earthy cheese that with it’s creamy texture offers a nice contrast to the heartier beer. I should also note that a portion of sales of this beer benefit a jazz institute in Monk’s name.
4) Avery Brewing Co. (Colorado) DuganA IPA with Maytag Blue Cheese
Here we have two impressive extreme flavors. The beer is the DuganA IPA from Colorado’s Avery, a brewery that knows how to use hops and use them well. This double version of an Indian Pale Ale uses three varieties of hops in this intense, floral and bitter brew. You need something that can hold its own with those flavors and you find it in Maytag blue cheese. Maytag – yes the appliance family – also owned and operated the Anchor Brewery in California for many many years. So, this is a cheese that appreciates good beer.
There are a lot of great pairings to try. I’d suggest getting some friends together and asking each person to bring a beer and a cheese. Many cheese shops can help with pairings and there are also some online resources to help guide you. Getting people together with different pairings and giving everyone a chance to sample can open up a whole new world of flavor and deepen the appreciation of beer and fromage.
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