Beer and cheese go together like…well, like beer and cheese. In fact, beer makes an even better pairing partner than wine. Its highly complex flavors wrap around the cheese, highlighting each distinct note. Beer also has a refreshing effervescence that cuts through the dense, mouth-coating fat of the cheese, leaving your palate cleansed and ready for the next bite.
When pairing any food and beverage, there is really one of two things you want to accomplish: Either the flavors of the food (in this case cheese) come together with the beverage in a complimentary manner—neither one overshadowing the other, but creating an enjoyable experience. Or, the flavors play off each other and make something entirely new and unexpected, such as citrus tones that weren’t apparent in either before.
While there are countless ways to pair beer and cheese, these are five of our favorites—many of which use locally made products. You can pick up any cheese or beer mentioned in this blog at your Market of Choice.
Heater Allen Pils with Mimolette
The distinct bitterness of Heater Allen’s Bohemian-style Pilsner mellows when paired with the creamy Mimolette. We also noticed how the Pilsner brought out a floral and citrus quality to the Mimolette, with notes of sourdough and orange zest on the finish.
ColdFire Thursday/Friday IPA with House Cheddar
Our rich, creamy house cheddar (made by Tillamook) amplifies the crisp tropical notes in this refreshing IPA from ColdFire with green apple, guava and passion fruit on the finish.
Ecliptic Brewing Carina Peach Sour with Cypress Grove’s Humboldt Fog
The creamy texture and slight tang of the Humboldt Fog mixes well with the effervescent, peachiness of Ecliptic’s sour beer. This pairing is reminiscent of fresh fruit on cheesecake.
Monkless Belgian Ale Dubbel or Nothing with Manchego
A smooth and balanced pairing, Monkless’ splendid version of a Belgian ale really brings out the creaminess of the Manchego with nutty, caramel notes. This is a great way to experience a Belgian beer and cheese pairing while supporting a local maker in Oregon.
pFriem Barrel Aged Bourbon Barley Wine with Portland Creamery’s Oregon Chèvre
Notes of rich caramel and toffee from pFriem’s Barrel Aged Bourbon Barley Wine mingle perfectly with the creamy zing of chèvre. This pairing could easily stand in as a dessert. If you love beer and cheese and would like to expand your palate, give our pairing ideas a try. Then, start experimenting with some of your favorite cheeses and beers. Our Cheesemongers and Beverage Stewards can help you get started. Pairing beer and cheese is easy, fun, and makes a great fall-time activity to share with friends.