Sunday, May 22, 2011

Beer and Cheese ...(Or Cheese and Beer)

Yes that's right, we said Beer. Why beer, you say? This is a marriage that goes back to the midevil times. Think of the monks in monastaries.

These self sufficient monks used ecologically sound practises (no unnatural pesticides or hormones) in their farming. They grew wheat and barley by the acre. Which they fermented and brewed into beer. The animals, grazed the grasses of these fields and produced milk with a flavor and aroma profile that embodied the terroir (or as a Wisconsin dairy farmer might say, a "Taste of Place"). These holy men knew a marriaged made in heaven when they saw (tasted) one. Think of all those kegs of beer and wheels of cheese at the monastary.

Another point which shouldn't go unnoticed is the price point in beer vs. Wine.

Now that you understand this is nothing new, but rather a time tested indulgcence, it's time to grab your a glass and your favorite crackers.

Here are a few suggestions:

Pilsners: cheeses with a hint of fruit and sweetness offset the dryness of the beer. Cheese that is too potent, will likely overpower the beer's more delicate scents.

Cheeses with a strong pungent character (like roquefort and stilton) need  Strong Belgian Ales like Duvel, Chimay Blue,

Stout/Porter - can be a challenge to pair cheese with; their bitter, cocoa-like flavors tend to overwhelm even the strongest of cheeses. Shy away from bitter cheeses, and instead embrace the salty, sweet, and creamy. Try pungent soft-ripened cheese, blues, and washed-rinds to serve alongside.

Cheeses with a meaty nut-like character (Gruyere,Emmental and Swiss marry well with the maltiness found in Bock Beer, Dark Lagers or Oktoberfest Beer.

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