One of the best ways to show off a delicious cheese is by pairing it with a great beer. As previously mentioned here, we do occasional tastings at The Wine Source to showcase many of the ways that beers & cheeses can bring out the best in each other. In order to match great cheese & great beer together, there is some amount of predicting what will work, but ultimately finding delicious pairings is a matter of simply tasting the two together. So for our upcoming tasting this Saturday, we once again slaved away all night, trying beer & cheese after beer & cheese, refusing to rest until we had discovered three perfect pairings. It’s hard work, but somebody has to do it.
And once again, I went into the tasting expecting certain combinations to work and others to be less than stellar, and once again I was completely surprised by what made a great match and what didn’t. Sometimes the “classic pairings” (blue cheese & stout, pilsner & cheddar) were overshadowed by cheeses & beers that seemed like they would be totally incompatible. That being said, everyone should stop by The Wine Source this Saturday, April 28th from 1 to 4 to try these great pairings.
Pairing # 1- Great Divide Colette and Neal’s Yard Wensleydale
This pair, as one of the beer guys put it, “tastes like spring”. This Colorado-based beer is a Farmhouse Ale- fruity & slightly tart, light-bodied in texture with a dry finish. Not totally surprising, this English cloth-bound cheese shares some of these characteristics. Slightly sweet aroma with a pleasant, buttermilky finish. These two match each other well in texture- neither is too harsh nor too light. The pairing also brings out a floral quality in both the beer & the cheese, something somewhat akin to skipping through a daisy-dotted meadow. Light, pleasant & easy to consume- Colette & Wensleydale are perfect for the weather.
Pairing #2- Sprecher Hefe Weiss & Valdeon
A Spanish blue & a Wisconsin wheat beer?? Just for fun, I Googled, “blue cheese and wheat beer,” and I couldn’t find evidence that anybody has ever enjoyed this pairing before in the history of humankind. What a pleasant surprise! Valdeon is a salty, spicy mixed milk blue from Spain, & the Sprecher Hefe Weiss has a light-to-medium body with banana aromas and a subtle spicy finish. The wheat beer did wonders for the cheese, giving the Valdeon a sweeter, more chocolatey taste that could successfully stand up to the body of the beer. A lovely sweet & spicy dynamic.
Pairing #3- Sierra Summerfest & Tremblaye Camembert
This by far was the most out there pairing for me. The Sierra Summerfest is a grassy, earthy beer with a hints of citrus & pine. Smooth & refreshing with a pleasant hoppy bitterness. The Tremblaye Camembert is big in flavors, with strong vegetal & roasted garlic notes. Incredibly creamy & buttery with good salt content. The beer is very well-balanced, which helps to cut the potency of the Camembert without clashing flavor issues. The Camembert in turn cuts some of the crispness while still allowing the complexity of the beer to come through.
While we would love to include all of the interesting & unusual combinations we tried, we will only get to do three for the tasting. In case you are interested in some of the other stellar options, here are a few more matches we enjoyed:
- Flying Fish Farmhouse Summer & Anton’s Red Love
- Great Divide Colette & Sbrinz
- Anderson Valley Oatmeal Stout & Valdeon
So make sure to come out to the Beer & Cheese tasting at The Wine Source on Saturday the 28th from 1-4!