Pairing Cheeses with Wine and Beer

August 10, 2008

I have received several comments and emails responding to my new adventure and I am humbled that humankind can be so…well…kind.

One request for suggested pairing of cheese with beers and wines came from Gary, a humankind male named after the pavo cristatus, who lives in the West Coast Quadrant known as Orange County. According to The Man, Gary is a “microbrewery” connoisseur, although in his earlier days he preferred wine.

I have added notes to each of the reviewed cheeses regarding specific pairings (and will do so with all future reviews; but decided a general discussion here about pairings would be useful the next time the readers need a wine or beer to go with their favorite cheese.

Pairing Cheese with Wine:

Most important rule to remember:

Consider the strengths of the flavors of both the cheese and the wine so that neither overpowers the other. Choosing a full-bodied wine and pairing it with a mild cheese would make the dominant flavors of the wine too intense for the cheese. In other words, stronger cheeses should be paired with stronger wines and milder cheeses should be paired with delicate wines.

Bries, Goudas, Baby Swiss, Fresh Mozzarellas and Mild Cheddars pair best with drier whites such as Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Savignon Blanc.

Fontina, Roquefort, Provolone and Stilton cheeses pair best with sweet white wines such as a Reisling or Sauterne. Also Stilton goes well with a Port.

Smoked Gouda, Gorgonzola, Gruyere, Gorgonzola, Smoked Swiss and Smoked Cheddar will all pair well with spicier wines such as Syrah, Pinot Noir, Shiraz and Zinfandel.

Merlot, a bold red wine, can stand-up to Aged Cheddars and Aged Swiss as well as Asiago, Taleggio and Pont l’Eveque.

If you have a Triple Cream then you should pop the cork on a sparkling wine. Triple creams include Cambozola, Boursin and Explorateur.

(My thanks to Artisanal Premium Cheese website for some of the above guidelines. You can visit their website at artisanalcheese.com.)

Pairing Cheese with Beer:

As with cheese and wine, stronger beers and ales pair better with strong cheeses and milder cheeses pair better lighter lagers.

In general think of ale as a red wine and lager as a white wine. Hoppiness in Beer is similar to the acidity in wine.

Feta and Goat Cheeses pair well with Wheat Beers.

Muenster, Havarti and Monterey Jack cheeses pair well with moderately hoppy Pilsners.

Colby, Gloucester and Cheddar should be eaten with robust Brown Ales.

Gorgonzola and Creamy Blues and Barleywines pair well together.

Stilton and Roquefort need strong Ales.

Gruyere, Emmenthal and Swiss pair well with Dark Lagers.

Parmesan or Romano goes well with an Amber Lager.

(My thanks to beeradvocate website for some of the above guidelines. Be sure and visit their website for more information.)

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3 Responses to “Pairing Cheeses with Wine and Beer”

  1. MunchieBunch Says:

    Thanks for the great info Spaulding. “VBS”

  2. Mike Says:

    Wow – Great stuff. I’m going to print it out for future reference. Still looking for Beecher’s No Woman

  3. Chrys Says:

    Whoo Hoo- your post fulfills my hunt for:

    “a cheese that starts with the letter of your mother’s maiden name & a wine or beer that pairs well with it” for the next neighborhood party


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