Hang on to your palates because this was one good tasting, and I’m about to tell you all about it. We all hear so much about wine and cheese, wine and food, wine and whatever… Not enough people know that beer is the true partner of cheese (and so much more at that!). It can meet all the same flavour criteria of wine and then some!
I picked 7 beers in a range that covers styles and piques interest. Peasant cheese tasted and picked out some tasty cheeses to match, and the lovely Michelle Chow came to help me by talking about the cheese, and provide better jokes than me. We guided our guests through each pairing, and I’m about to do the same for you!
Freehold Big Chutes Lager: This is a beautifully crafted lager with light biscuity malty tones and a hint of west coast hops. Citrusy goodness with mild pine notes but low on the bitterness. A French soft cheese called Le Dauphin was paired because it’s mild, creamy and matches the delicate tones of the beer.($4.19 for a 473mL tall can)
Dageraad Burnabarian: Lightly spiced with coriander and is brewed with oats for a silky mouthfeel. Low alcohol is true to the table beer style and makes this ultra refreshing. Fleuron de Brugge is the most popular cheese in Brugge, and it has a sweet flavour with a mild funk (just like the beer!), along with a creamy texture to help with the non-bitter finish of the beer.($9.19 for a 650mL bottle)
Wild Rose High Harvest Hemp IPA: This dank, tropical and silky IPA is done in the New England style. Big Piney hops with big fruity tones all over. The fuller mouthfeel is pleasant, cloudy and goes down easy with a mild but slightly oily finish. Le 1608 is one of Canada’s best cheeses, it’s mild with a bit of tang that compliments the hops nicely, and the slight nuttiness matches well with the silky body of the beer.($12.39 for a 4-pack of cans)
3 Fonteinen Oude Kriek: A legendary Kriek if there ever was one! First time available in Alberta, 3 Fonteinen’s is tart and rich and spicy with generous flavours of cherry skins. Secret de Compostelle has a nice tart and lightly fruity tone that fits well with the sour fruity beer. It melts to be velvety creamy in the mouth which mingles with the acidity in the beer just like it’s supposed to. ($39.99 for a 750mL bottle)
La Trappe Oak Aged Quad: Heavy tones from French brandy barrels leave notes of vanilla and almond, on top of the caramel-like, slightly sweet flavour with a good, full body. Prestige de Brugge makes the most amazing pairing (and my personal favourite of the night) for this beer. It’s sweet with hints of nuts, caramel and butterscotch, very similar in tone to the base flavours of the beer. Being 3 years old now, this beer is not drinking near prime and has rounded out into a spectacular beer. (Now 25% off at a steal of $12.75 for a 375mL bottle)
The Bruery Cuivre: Cuivre is loosely brewed in the English-style Old Ale tradition using the house Belgian yeast strain and then blended using the solera method. It is a monster at over 16% abv, it’s generously sweet with notes of toffee, caramel and rum. Just as you might pair a blue with a sweet dessert wine, we did this here too. Blue de Causses is sweet, with generous funk, and a fairly creamy texture. The perfect pairing for a rugged, sweet and boozy beer. Feel free to stick beer this in your cellar and forget about it for up to 20 years (really, I think it’ll be fine). ($54.49 for a 750mL bottle)
Omnipollo Selassie: Rich and smooth with sweet cacao notes and generous coffee. More sweet vanilla tones come off with big boozy vapours and give way to the sweet malty finish. To be honest, I may not have a beer like this in a pairing in the future, but I really wanted to try it. The coffee is a little harder to pair, but we took Bella Lodi, which is in the family of parmigiano reggiano. Dry, semi-pungent and firm. It stood up very well with the beer while letting it shine through. ($10.69 for a 330mL bottle)
Certain beers and cheeses really shone on their own, so I wanted to make sure I got all relevant opinions from my guests. In terms of pairing, the high harvest and Le 1608 came in first, followed by La Trappe and Prestige de Brugge, and Cuivre with Blue de Causses. The beers had a 3-way tie for favourite between Big Chutes, Burnabarian and Selassie, and the favourite cheese of the night was Le 1608 by a LONG shot.
I always find I learn so much with this particular tasting. I love challenging my ability to pick apart why certain things work together and use that in future meals, snacks, recommendations and so on. I certainly hope this was as educational for all my guests too! On that note, I will end this off. Keep your eyes open for the beer and meat pairing I will be attempting later in the month. I think it’ll be a blast. In the meantime, you can come chat with me at the shop, or shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow me on twitter @ShawnsBrewsCGY.
Thanks for reading!