A Matter of Taste and Harmony
Need advice pairing cheese and beer ? Common sense tips and a few helpful hints are just a click away...
Once you know the basics - hearty cheeses pair nicely with darker beers, delicate cheeses blend well with lighter beers - it’s easy to create the perfect beer and cheese tasting.
A few tips to guide you...
- Fresh cheese: although a little less interesting at a tasting, fresh cheeses are more appropriately served flavoured, with biscuits or crackers, on canapés or in dips with vegetables. You should therefore choose light beers with delicate and refreshing tastes.
- Soft cheese: a Brie, a Camembert or an Empereur will provide pleasant discoveries with light beers.
- Semi-soft cheese: Brick or Havarti can be perfectly matched with light beers. Medium-tasting cheeses such as Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Noyan, Oka and Saint-Paulin go very well with lagers.
- Firm cheese: medium or sharp Cheddar, Havarti flavoured with jalapeno peppers and aged Provolone are delicious with ales and dark beers. Caciocavalo, Emmental, Friulano, Gouda or Miranda will also marry harmoniously with ale.
- Hard cheese: even the pronounced taste of a young Parmesan will surprise you when matched with a dark beer.
The little extras
Accompany your assortment of beers and cheeses with crackers, biscuits or a few slices of delicious crusty bread, be it white, rye, pumpernickel or nut bread.
Some fresh fruits, such as grapes, wedges of apples or pears, fresh figs, or nuts, dried fruits, and even some pâtés, deli meats, and little pickles will marvellously complement any tray.
How much to serve?
According to the number of guests and the type of tasting which you intend to host, serve several services of different cheeses with beers in sufficient quantities. About 250 g of cheese per person is usually sufficient for a successful tasting.
A few tips:
- For best results, always cut cheese while it is cold.
- To add a touch of elegance to your presentation, cut round or square cheeses in wedges from the centre, cylindrical and rectangular cheeses in thin slices, and small cheeses in pieces.
- If you prepare a plate or a cheese board beforehand, make sure to cover it with a damp cloth to keep the cheese moist and to prevent the flavours from blending together.
- Before the tasting, it is always recommended to bring the cheeses to room temperature by taking them out of the refrigerator 45 minutes to an hour in advance.
- Make sure that the cheeses do not touch each other so as not to mix their flavours. For the same reason, be sure to provide a different knife for each cheese.
- After you've thoroughly enjoyed your new tasty discoveries, don't forget to wrap your cheeses separately to protect their aromas and flavours. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or in aluminum foil or waxed paper and they should keep for a long time.
- For advice on how to store and freeze cheeses, check out How to Store Cheese.