Cathy Strange’s role as global specialty foods and cheese buyer for Whole Foods Market® puts her in the unique position of traveling the world to not only discover and encourage the world’s great cheesemakers, but also to help advance the artisanal food movement and investigate new food trends from around the world, one bite at a time.
Beer and cheese. If you haven’t tried them together before, you’re about to uncover a next level of snacking.
4 Reasons Why Beer Pairs Best with Cheese
- Beer’s effervescence makes an excellent foil for the creamy richness of most cheeses. The bubbles actually lift the cream off the tongue and refresh the palate.
- Bright refreshing notes in beer (think the fruit of an IPA or bite of a pilsner) complement and balance the salt in cheese.
- Unique yeast notes and hop styles found in beer celebrate and bring out cheese’s subtle notes and nuances.
- The bitter hops in beer add to the overall mouthfeel and accent flavors in aged cheeses.
Suds and Curds: What Beers Go Best with What Cheeses
Just like cheeses, beer styles run the gamut of flavor profiles, textures and aromas. Here are some general pairing guidelines to get you started.
- Fuller, darker beers (porters and stouts) do best with bold, flavorful cheeses – think blue or even Parmigiano Reggiano.
- Lighter beers like pilsners and wheat beers love young, fresh cheeses. Chèvre and other fresh goat cheeses are a good choice here.
- Belgian-style beers with their floral notes shine with mild, buttery Trappist-style cheeses or washed rind cheeses like Taleggio.
- Sip an IPA or other hop-forward beer and then have a nibble of an aged cheddar. You will not regret it. Ever.
- Having fondue or making your famous grilled cheese sandwich? Give a bitter beer a try. This is a classic case of finding balance: if the cheese takes you in one direction, pair with a beer that takes you the other.
All our specialty cheeses are made from the milk of animals not given added growth hormones (rBST/rBGH) — come check out our incredible selection. And remember — our Certified Cheese Professionals love talking pairing!