Beer & Cheese, a love story

I think one of my favorite things about working, not just in a food department but in a food department within a liquor store, is that I get to taste so many different things. And then I often get to taste them together.

Wine and cheese pairings was such a huge interest to me when I first started working in the Vineyard Market. I thought it was just so neat how two seemingly different things could taste so good together, or how they could bring out such different flavors in one another. At this point, wine and I get along pretty well and I feel that I have a pretty decent understanding of general pairings among wine and cheese. The next step? Cheese and beer–a whole new world for me.

Beer has always sort of been an enigma for me. I totally understand why people love it, and once in a while I could maybe sorta enjoy it myself

BUT I have to say that most of the time, I would rather just…not. And I was totally thinking that I just hadn’t found my deep down connection with beer yet.

Last weekend, however, I had the wonderful opportunity of visiting Brooklyn Brewery with some of my co-workers. And let me tell you, my view on beer has been forever changed. I had the opportunity to try quite a few of their beers on tap, and for the first time while drinking a beer, I imagined all the cheeses that might taste good with it.

One that I distinctly remember is Brooklyn’s Naranjito: a lovely Pale Ale brewed with orange peels. This beer has a lightness to it, enhanced by its citrus flavors–immediately upon tasting this beer I was craving a bite of some fresh chevre. Unfortunately, this particular Brooklyn beer is unavailable for purchase in the U.S. (I’m just as sad as you are), but I’ve also found that if you’re looking to pair some fresh goat cheese, Brooklyn’s Greenmarket Wheat has a similarly light and refreshing taste to it that I think would do really well alongside the tangy creaminess of goat cheese.

Here are some other pairings that I’ve found to be successful:

  • Brooklyn Lager with Gruyere
  • Brown Ale with 3 Month Manchego
  • Defender with Black Diamond 5 Year Cheddar
  • Summer Ale with Wyke Vintage Cheddar
  • Sorachi Ace with Shepherd’s Way Big Woods Blue

These pairings are not set in stone by any means. You might try one of the combinations above and decide you don’t care for that particular beer and cheese together at all–and that’s okay! The greatest thing to me about cheese and beverage pairings is the diversity of it. What I find to be delicious, you might not, and vice versa.

Food and alcohol pairings are meant to be a fun adventure. Not sure what goes well with the beer you have? Experiment! Pick your favorite cheese, crack open that beer, and give it a go. You never know what combinations you’ll fall in love with.

Have you tried a beer and cheese combo that you absolutely loved? Let me know in the comments!

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