We’re never gonna tell you not to eat cheese with your wine. That we can solemnly swear.
However, if you’re a beer drinker, beer and cheese pairings are very much worth your time. Think about it — beer is grain-based and effervescent, so putting it with cheese can be an easier, more balanced path to deliciousness.
“Beer and cheese are much more intertwined than wine and cheese,” Chris Erickson, director of brewing operations at Wyoming’s Snake River Brewing, says. “Beer is made from barley and cows graze in the field. Never heard of a cow that eats grapes!”
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Come to think of it, neither have we. With this in mind, we asked 10 brewers and beer professionals their favorite cheeses to pair with their beers. Consider it a shopping list.
“We love drinking an IPA like our Mosiac + Galaxy Imperial IPA alongside an aged cheddar, like Fiscalini’s Bandage Wrapped Cheddar. The earthy and fruity notes of the hops really lend itself well to this nutty, slightly funky cheddar.” — Matt Monahan, Co-Founder, Other Half Brewing, Brooklyn, NY
“The ripened creaminess of Cambozola elevates the bourbon notes of Manhattan 2015, leading to flavors of spiced cherry and marzipan from additions of sour pie cherries and apricot noyaux. Spiced cherry and marzipan cut through the bite of blue vein and finish warm, with nutty, cherry-wrapped bourbon characteristics.” —Troy Harris, Chef de Sour, Cascade Brewing, Portland, OR
“Quicke’s cheddar with Snake River Pale Ale. There’s a grassy, slightly garlicky flavor in the cheddar that goes well with the Cascade hops in this American-style pale ale. Pastoral flavors in the cheese match the meadowy character in the beer.” — Chris Erickson, Director of Brewing Operations, Snake River Brewing, Jackson, WY
“Our favorite beer and cheese combo is any of our saisons with a fresh or ripened goat cheese, like Vermont Creamery’s Bonne Bouche. Though the cheese is rich and creamy, it’s got a nice level of barnyard funk and lemony notes. Our Saison Magnolia is funky and effervescent but still light and bright enough to not overpower the goat’s milk.” — John David Ryan, Director of Sales at Urban Family Brewing, Seattle, WA
“Marcel Petite Comté pairs very well with our Robust American Porter, Everett. The Comté’s creamy profile and hit of roasted nuts work with the bold chocolate and roasted malt profile of Everett.” — Kevin Levesque, Retail and Tasting Room Manager, Hill Farmstead Brewery, Greensboro, VT
“We think the flavor of a rich blue with hints of toasted nut and anise — like Jasper Hill’s Bayley Hazen Blue — is a really nice counterpoint to Curieux, our tripel that we age in bourbon barrels. Curieux’s notes of vanilla and coconut nicely complement the robust blue’s savory notes.” — Brett Willis, Marketing Specialist, Allagash Brewing, Portland, ME
“Bobolink Dairy, one of our dearest local inspirations, makes a beautiful grass-fed cow’s milk semisoft, Drumm, which we love in a state of overripeness alongside our Berliner Messe: Agnus Dei. The Vidal Blanc grapes we re-fermented in the beer were grown in the same town as the cows were raised, and the microflora native to beer and cheese alike seem to converse deeply with one another on the palate.” — James Priest, Owner, Blender, The Referend Bier Blendery, Pennington, NJ
“The nutty and caramel-rich flavors of Mimolette are accentuated by the notes of oak, subtle smoke, and stone fruit in Life On. The balanced acidity and dry finish of the beer complement the mature saltiness of Mimolette’s lingering aftertaste. It’s also worth noting that the names go hand in hand. Cheese mites are microscopic little bugs that munch away on all the molds that make a cheese rind. While usually considered an industry nuisance, they are encouraged in Mimolette.” — Greg Jasgur, Director of Sales, Oxbow BrewingCompany, Newscastle, ME
“One of my favorite pairings is our Tools of the Trade Extra Pale Ale with Marcelli Formaggi’s Pecorino del Parco, a raw sheep cheese from the Abruzzo region that is aged for six months. On first sip, the crisp, snappy punch of our pale ale perfectly complements its earthy aroma and nutty overtones. Then the citrusy brightness of the beer washes the pecorino’s firm, slightly chalky texture from the tongue, leaving you ready for another bite.” — Sofia Barbaresco, General Manager, Industrial Arts Brewing Company, Garnerville, NY
“Anderson Valley Hop Hyzer with the Mt. Tam from the Cowgirl Creamery — one of my favorite beers with one of my favorite cheeses. The Hop Hyzer is lightly bitter with a whole load of tropical hop flavors. The Mt. Tam is triple-cream-style encased in a delicate white rind; silky smooth, deep, and creamy. The bready malt flavors work well with the elegant earthy notes of this cheese, and the citrus hops flavors leave the palate cleansed and ready for the next delicious bite of cheese.” — Fal Allen, Brewmaster, Anderson Valley Brewing, Boonville, CA