Last night I attempted for the first time my long anticipated beer and cheese evening, running it as a sort of side project to me and Helen's joint birthday house party (hence all the background mess in the picture). But before I begin lets get a few things straight. Now allot of you might be thinking this idea was basically a rip off of the well established 'wine and cheese evening' but not so. I myself as well as industry experts and beer writers worldwide know of the many affinities and harmonies that can be found from pairing various beers with cheese. Sadly the majority of the world would probably overlook such facts (largely due to age old social snobbery and the whole perception of quality (developed by the media) wine has developed in comparison to beer). Anyhow, the overall conclusion of the event was that of success. However if I or anyone else was planning such an event I would advise the following guidelines;
- Try and choose beers that will match the intensity of whichever specific cheese its intended to be paired with.
- Keep cleansing your palate with water or crackers between different pairings.
- Be open minded and adventurous with the pairings, see what cheese works with a beer best.
- Include plenty of intense flavoured, often strong beers, big funky Belgian doubles, India pale ales with cutting edge bitterness levels and bold barley wine style ales with layers of malt depth and warming alcohols to enwrap the maturest of artisan cheeses on the palate. These kinds of beers don't just stand up to intense cheeses but make things a lot more interesting.
Finally I would say to try and remember the pairings that worked best, but I don't need to say that because when you find that harmonious match you will remember it. The Finest pairings of the evening were:
- Bacchus Frambozen with Wensleydale and cranberries.
- Meantime India Pale ale with Vintage cheddar.
- Panda & Frog Vintage 2008 ale (home brewed) with Blue Stilton.
This wont be the last beer and cheese night I will be involved in I can be sure of that. Much more territory must be covered.