How to Pair Beer and Cheese

Find tasty bliss using America's two basic food groups: beer and cheese.
Posted September 16, 2011

Beer has found its place in the culinary world, with beer dinners, pairings and other events on restaurant schedules around town. You’ll even find beer in food. But beer and cheese?

Absolutely, says Warren Peterson, chef and so-called “beer czar” of Tom Douglas’ new beer-centric Brave Horse Tavern in South Lake Union.

“Beer is food friendly and doesn’t have the acidity that wine has,” says Peterson. “You can pair a hoppy beer with something rich, and the hops clean your palate so you aren’t overwhelmed by fattiness of cheese.”

To get started, Peterson says to start with the beer you love. “Come October, there will be so many seasonal beers, so find something that looks exciting to you.”

Then, go to your favorite cheese counter (his picks: The Calf & Kid on Capitol Hill and DeLaurenti in Pike Place Market).

Pair flavors that are either similar in flavor or vastly different. And have fun. “Talk to the people behind the counter and bounce some ideas around.”


Goat cheese: Pair this mild cheese with something that isn’t too big, like a lager or even a porter, since those beers are dark and rich but not really intense.

Blue cheese: Its intense flavor can stand up to bigger beers like an IPA or a big stout with character.

Gouda: This nutty, caramelly and butterscotch-y cheese pairs well with beers that mimic the flavor, like brown ale or nut ale.

Farm-style English cheddar: Amber ale, brown ale, IPA—this cheese is easy to pair with beer.



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