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!