Matching Cheese and Beer

Cheese and wine is a very popular combination. But it is widely unknown, that cheese and beer can be a fantastic combination too! Beer and cheese goes very well together and has some very positive side effects.

"Cheese closes the stomach” an old wisdom says. Especially in this world where people eat a lot of heavy meals, the cheese can be a heavy component at the end of a meal. Therefore a lot of connoisseurs recommend to drink a little shot of Kirsch or Williams (pear schnaps), as the “schnaps” helps with the digestion of the cheese. Scientist of the university in Zurich now proof, that alcohol makes the meal richer in calories, but does not really help with the digestion. But it does not harm the digestion either, so good news for those who like a little shot of Schnaps.
 

Most people recommend wine as the standard companion for an elegant cheese. But beer is a fantastic accompaniment for the cheese too. So if you like a matured cheese and love a drink too, enjoy a beer with your cheese! Chilled beer at 8 to 10 degrees Celsius helps with digestion, while beer that is too cold is rather hindering the digestion process.

Beer is a natural product, that helps create the appetite and therefore is a perfect “aperitif”. As an appetite enhancer, its better to drink an apple juice or a beer than white wine or orange juice, due to the acid in the drink.

There are flavor components in the cheese, that enhance the beer experience in a great way and there are beer types that accentuate the quality of many cheese types. Mainly aromatic, fruity and not too bitter beer types strengthen the quality of many cheeses. Aromas from the corn starch offer a full bodied flavor, the hop adds a natural bitterness and acidity while the CO2 creates a sense of freshness. A complex combination of strong, sharp, sweet and acidic flavor components make the cheese attractive.

Which beer do we match with the cheese?

One of the first basic rules: Consensus rather than contrast. Match beers and cheeses that have a similar character. This means:

  • Match a young cheese with a fresh young beer
  • Complement a fine elegant beer with a young sheeps or goats cheese
  • A mature strong cheese goes well with a herb, strong and malt accented beer
  • Enjoy matured hard cheese with strong and high alcohol beers
  • Soft cheeses such as camembert are a great match with carbonated beers

Consider the consistency of the cheese, as the fat content has a high influence on the flavor experience. Salt, Acidity and bitter flavors in the cheese get enhanced with a drink. The combination of acidity, alcohol and strong spices can have an explosive effect on the perception of the spices.

  • Sweet flavors in drinks complement sweet flavors in cheese
  • Fat in the cheese can neutralize acidity and bitterness in drinks
  • The intensity of the flavor in cheese and the drink should be balanced
  • Dark malty beers are a good match for white mould cheeses
  • White beer is perfect for fresh cheeses or matured strong cheeses