Come Fly with Me
Though options for cheese-and-beer pairings are endless, here’s one dream flight with five of our favorite matches
Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery Fresh Goat Cheese & Two Brothers Ebel’s Weiss
Ah yes, the old standby that is goat cheese and wheat beer. It’s tried-and-true, and delicious—and this may be our favorite American-sourced version of the classic pairing. The textbook notes of banana, clove, and vanilla in the Ebel brothers’ hefeweizen do well to mellow the tanginess of Allison Hooper’s famed fresh chèvre. Meanwhile the citric nature of both products melds nicely, allowing the beer to finish off the pairing with some palate-cleansing bubbles.
Meadow Creek Dairy Grayson & Allagash Tripel Reserve
As with beer, descriptors like “barnyard” are considered complimentary when tied to artisan cheese. In this case, we sought a beer with enough punch to stand up to the Taleggio-esque aroma of the award-winning Grayson. Enter the Belgian-style tripel: a beer that doesn’t shy away from difficult pairing challenges. Allagash Tripel Reserve has big, fruity flavors and aromas that manage to mellow the pungent Grayson. From there, the beer’s warming alcohol finish keeps the cheese’s beefy flavor and buttery paste at bay.
Great Hill Blue & Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout
Pairing 101 goes something like this: big beers need big cheeses. And by big, we mean robust—in flavor, aroma, and, in the case of beer, alcohol. Luckily for us all we have magical workers like penicillium roqueforti and Russian imperial stout. The former, of course, is used by cheesemakers at Great Hill Dairy to create a moderately veined, salty-yet-caramel-like blue cheese; the latter is a beer style marked
by prominent alcohol, roasted malt sweetness, and dry hop bitterness. United, the two tickle all of the necessary taste receptors, leaving the palate pleased, with just a hint of alcohol.
Cabot Clothbound Cheddar & Anderson Valley Boont Extra Special Beer
Clothbound cheddar with a malty pale ale represents an English pairing staple, but this duo is American-made. Anderson Valley and Cabot Creamery are domestic pioneers of their craft in their own right, and the nod to old-world traditions is quite clear in this pairing. Ten months of aging in the Cellars at Jasper Hill gives the Cabot Clothbound that blend of caramel, butterscotch, nuttiness, and a subtle tang that you’d expect from the style. Boont ESB similarly stays true to style with its sweet malty palate, biscuity notes, and medium bitterness. The caramel and nutty characteristics of both cheese and beer work together while the ESB’s hoppy nature cuts through the sharp cheddar bite.
Old Chatham Sheepherding Company Nancy’s Hudson Valley Camembert & Brewery Ommegang Hennepin
The combination of a ripe Camembert and farmhouse saison shows us why beer and cheese are such good friends. The rich, earthy flavors of the bloomy-rind cheese complement the grassy, funky calling card of the Belgian-style saison. Ommegang is on the forefront of Belgian-influenced American brewing, and its flagship beer has all the fruity, spicy, musty notes required to play up a cheese like Nancy’s Hudson Valley Camembert. This sheep’s and cow’s milk cheese is so buttery that the beer’s vibrant carbonation is downright necessary.
Written by Andy Jenkins