Curds + Hops: Tips for Pairing Beer and Cheese

Most may find that wine and cheese go together like peanut butter and chocolate. Both are two of life’s great culinary pleasures. But on a hot summer day, the taste of a cheese that’s very salty and full of fat will be left hanging on your palate, which begs the question: have you ever considered pairing your cheese with a nice cold beer? Let’s trade in those fruits and tannins for some malts and hops instead, as beer and cheese are natural partners with equally wide ranges of possible flavors.

The first thing to consider when pairing cheese and beer is the same principle that holds true when pairing it with any other food: match the intensity of the beer with the intensity of the cheese. Set aside your doubts—taste is subjective and not everyone’s taste buds are the same. That said, you can’t pair any cheese with any beer and expect pure bliss. Cheers with beer and add a little curd to your hop with these tips.

Lighter Beers are Best with Lighter Cheeses. Pale lagers or wheats tend to pair nicely with lighter, fresh cheeses such as DLM Handmade Mozzarella, burrata, or chèvre. Try this: LIFT from MadTree Brewing Co. paired with a fresh chèvre from Laura Chenel. The crisp and refreshing hint of orange from LIFT marries with the rich-tasting, bright, citrusy tang of the Laura Chenel. It’s like the icing on top of a cupcake!

Stronger Cheeses Deserve a Stronger Beer. My favorite pairings include a decadent blue cheese like our Champignon Grand Noir with a rich stout like Yeti Imperial Stout from Great Divide. The salty and creamy experience of the Grand Noir melds so well with the sweet, smoky goodness that the Yeti has to offer.

Hoppy Beers Lift Buttery, Floral Cheeses. Now, I didn’t forget about you hop-heads! If you’re anything like me, then your go-to is a nice, juicy IPA, like New Belgium Brewing Voodoo Ranger. Match that with the key notes of buttery, floral goodness from the Comté Saint Antoine Gruyère. This is a young cheese with an old soul but somehow an IPA just brings out a refreshing and citrus life that it didn’t have before.

In the end, tasting is believing so don’t take my word for it and try some combinations for yourself. Grab your favorite cheese, try it with a variety of beer, and give it a whirl!

5 Gourmet Grilled Cheese Ideas

A grilled cheese is a grilled cheese, right? As if! If you’re anything like me, then a grilled cheese sandwich was probably the first thing you learned to cook by yourself using the pre-wrapped cheese slices that shall remain unnamed. Why not do yourself some justice and gift yourself some of the cheesy, comforting goodness you deserve with a gourmet grilled cheese?

Take that old tried-and-true grilled cheese sandwich up a notch (or ten) by exploring all of the cheeses that The DLM Cheese Shops have to offer. The possibilities are endless! From the spicy, tangy flavors of goat cheeses, like Humboldt Fog, to the smooth, velvety flavors of the Comté Saint-Antoine Gruyère, we’ve got five sure-fire ways to elevate you to grilled cheese gourmand status:

1. FOGGY BOTTOM. Take our Raisin Walnut Bread as a base and add Humboldt Fog goat cheese plus a few slices of Prosciutto di Parma for a perfect salty-creamy bite.

2. THE ULTIMATE. Take two awesome cheeses, Comté St. Antoine Gruyère plus Barber’s 1833 Vintage Cheddar, put them on our classic Unbleached White Sandwich Bread, and you get a simply perfect grilled cheese.

3. DELISH. The perfect grilled cheese for brunch! Take slices of Deer Creek’s The Doe, stack them between slices of Sesame Seed Bread that is spread with DLM Apricot Preserves, and grill until golden brown.

4. THE RETRO. We love the retro flavor of DLM Pimento Cheese Dip paired with DLM Uncured Bacon piled between buttered slices of Farmhouse Bread.

5. CAPRESE. This is a toasty and gooey take on the flavors of a caprese salad: DLM Handmade Mozzarella, thinly sliced Roma tomato, fresh basil leaves, and Ciabatta Bread.

Anatomy of a Cheese Board

Nothing is as easy, and yet so impressive, as a cheese board for home entertaining. If your friends and family are anything like mine, cheese is a must for almost every occasion. But how do you make a cheese board? I find that a lot of people are intimidated when it comes to assembling a crowd-pleasing cheese board. To begin, set aside your doubts about finding the right combination. While it is possible, it is incredibly hard to come up with a bad pairing.

I personally like to use about three to five different cheeses. Of course, you can do more, but it’s easy to overload the senses, so keep it simple. Once you’ve chosen your cheeses, have fun with sweet and salty accompaniments, from assorted crackers and cured meats, to fresh fruit and cornichons. The possibilities are always fun and endless! Lastly, don’t forget about the one-hour rule; to maximize the flavors of your cheese, allow them to sit at room temperature for at least an hour prior to serving. Now, let’s get started with making some cheese board magic!

Pro Tip 1: Define the Foundation

Are you hosting a casual get-together or a formal affair? How many people? Any known likes or dislikes? These are good questions to consider, and don’t be afraid to talk to your DLM cheesemongers. It’s our job to steer you in the right direction. If your experience hasn’t surpassed Kraft singles, don’t worry! We’ll get you to where you want to be.

Pro Tip 2: Set the Framework

When selecting cheeses for my boards, I think of a rhyme I once learned: Something old, something new, something goat, and something blue. Make this your motto and you’ll have the framework for the perfect cheese board.

Pro Tip 3: Finish, Finesse, & Serve

To keep your board from looking like a battle site by the end of the night, cut your cheeses before placing them on the board, but not too far in advance as to keep them from drying out. Try thin slices from the rind to the center to showcase flavors from the inside out that the cheese has developed through aging. For soft, crumbly cheeses, leave them whole and provide a spreader for your guests to use.