Everyone knows that wine and cheese are best friends.
What everyone doesn’t know is that beer and cheese are pals. Yep. They go way back, too.
Beer and cheese is actually a more natural pairing than wine and cheese — many wines tend to wash out the subtle flavor notes found in cheeses, but beer allows the cheese flavor to cut through. Neither one is overpowering; they work together to enhance the flavor impact of the other.
I learned about this fabulous beer-cheese friendship from Marc Stroobandt, Master Beer Sommelier (Can we talk about how much I want his job?). He put together a cheese plate and poured some Stella Artois, and pretty much turned my preconceived ideas about beer upside-down.
It makes total sense, too: beer is made from grains and water. Cows eat and drink grains and water. This kind of link just doesn’t exist between wine and cheese. Your new beer and cheese mantra: if it grows together, it goes together. I’m interested to see how much this link is strengthened when beers are paired with cheeses made in the same region as the brewery.
Different beer-cheese combos are just like different sets of friends. Stella Artois likes to let the cheese be the star, and opens up some of the subtle undertones that aren’t always easy to taste. Leffe, which is normally a very sweet beer, steps back and lets the cheese temper some of its sweetness. The cheese transforms the beer, and the beer transforms the cheese. Kind of like how your friends complement your personality and bring out your best qualities.
Learn by doing — next time, instead of a wine & cheese night, try a beer & cheese night. Taste the cheese. Take a sip of beer. Taste the cheese again. I promise you’ll notice something new!