Beer and Cheese: The Perfect Pairing
Many brewers claim that beer makes an excellent companion for cheese because of beer's complex flavors. While wines tend to showcase a single ingredient-- grapes-- beers can incorporate the flavors of hops, yeast, malted grains, herbs, fruit, and more, providing endless opportunities for for exciting pairings. Beers are also well-suited for cheeses because of their carbonation; the bubbles work like microscrubbers to break down the fats in cheese and cleanse the palate.
Jim Engelbart, operations and production manager of Empyrean Brewing Co, offers several reasons why cheese and beer make a great combo. They complement each other so well, he said, because they share some of the same aromas, flavors (nutty, floral, tangy, fruity, earthy) and other characteristics. Though pairings often work best when both beer and cheese share a similar taste, flavor or aroma, they can still prove pleasant even when the two contrast. The malty sweetness of some beers, for example, makes a nice counterpoint to sharp, salty cheeses.