Wine and cheese are most often referred to as good pairing partners but we don't often think of beer and cheese as being great partners.
Pairing similar tastes and textures, or like with like, makes sense when it comes to food and drink. If you think about the farmer's diet earlier in this century, they ate cold meats, cheese and beer. In many pubs today you might see the "Ploughman's Lunch Special" on the menu which reflects the meet, cheese and beer diet of yesterday's farmers.
Why would beer and cheese be a good pairing? They are both made from fermented liquids, infused with yeasts or cultures that are made in different styles for a variety of flavor profiles. Some of the parallel flavors are yeast, earth, toast, and fruit.
Today's brewmasters are creative in their brewing. They work the hops and malt to different levels of bitterness and sweetness along with the levels of carbonation and add extra flavors to the beer.
All this makes beer the perfect companion to cheese. The high fat content and the creaminess in some cheese coat our palates. Beer's carbonation helps to cleanse the palate. Just one of the reasons beer is a good pairing with cheese.
BEER PAIRING RECOMMENDATIONS
Stout and Porter have strong bitter and cocoa-like flavors which can overwhelm strong cheeses. Go with a salty, sweet, creamy cheese such as the pungent soft blue cheeses.
Wheat/white beer has flavors of orange, cloves, and apples. Serve aged swiss cheese or gruyere cheese which is a nutty-flavored hard cheese.
Belgian Style Ales cover a wide range of styles. They can be gold in color and sweet or dark and heavier style. The lighter ale will pair will sharp cheeses; the darker style will pair with buttery, strong flavor cheeses.
Pilsner beers are usually medium to full-bodied that is crisp and has a touch of bitterness. Try Stella Artois with American cheese, muenster, and even a monterey jack cheese.
Fruit style beers have flavors of fruit that will pair well with sweet flavors. Mascarpone is a creamy style cheese that is used in tiramisu dessert, or made as a dip with fruits. Try one of Samuel Adams fruit beers.
Enjoy a cheese platter on your next game day get-together with your favorite beer. Keep in mind "This is all a matter of taste -- if you like it that's all that matters."