Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"Beer is NOT appropriate for food," a wine guy said.

"Beer is NOT appropriate for food," a wine guy said to me.

My response could have been, "Well, then, why are some wines described as 'food-friendly', as if other wines would not be?"

But in the interest of comity, I offered no response, just a shrug, and an inner regret that the speaker would not be enjoying one of life's pleasures.

As an example, I recently matched these cheeses with these beers in a beer and food demo:

Raclette and Gruyere with Brooklyn Lager.
---> Sweet and nutty cheese (gruyere; raclette is more neutral a cheese) pairs with firm yet not overpowering sweet malt middle and new mown grass aroma.

Humboldt Fog with Brooklyn Local One.
---> Lemony and faintly barnyardy cheese pairs with strong beer of sweet food spices and lemons.

Aged Gouda with Allagash Reserve Dubbel.
---> When aged, an almost caramel character. How delicious with the rummy character of a dubbel.

Grafton aged Cheddar with Clipper City's Winter Storm Imperial ESB.
---> Buttery, earthy, and sharp cheese (it's not your grandfather's yellow cheddar) pairs wonderfully with the earthy nose and tannic finish.

Sweet Grass Dairy Green Hill with Stone Arrogant Bastard.
---> Pungent with pungent!! And the cheese is oh so creamy.

Rogue Smokey Blue with Victory Storm King.
---> The malty/burnt flavors of strong stouts 'flavor dance'with blue cheeses. The roast softens the funk of the blue, whereas the cheese's mold softens the roast of the beer. Smokey flavor of the blue is a plus.

First, sip the beer. Then, nibble the cheese. Now ... do both. Again, celebrate the flavor dance. Each enhances the other.

More on beer and cheese pairing here.

Cheeses and beers at Brick Store
A delicious cheese platter, including Sweet Grass Dairy,
served at the Brick Store Pub in Decatur, Georgia.
Accompanied with Dales Pale Ale and Reisdorf Koeslch. July 2008.

I expanded upon this post, after gentle prodding from Mr. Bryson. (See comments.)


  1. I need more substance here, Tom! You left me hanging on this one. I feel disconnected, and I want to know more.

  2. Wine guys. Go figure. On NPR before the Super Bowl I heard one of them recommending wines to go with nachos, Buffalo wings and chili. Nary a mention of beer. Now, I enjoy wine. And I'm sure also those wines were tasty. But I have a hard time believing any of them went as well with those foods as 90 percent of beers would.


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