beer matching

Pair & Share: Beer & Cheese Matches

Edam, Parmesan, Burrata and Stilton...for years we've been told cheese makes a great match with wine. But what about beer? This New Zealand Cheese Month we're on the hunt for beers that make your favourite cheese squeak with delight!

What have we all been up to in 2020? Well, apart from the obvious (learning to make masks, shaking elbows, learning that everything - including drinks night - can be done remotely if we absolutely have to), we've been making ourselves better by buying the things we love. And something it seems we all love is cheese. 

According to Nielsen results, the amount of cheese we've been buying overall is up by 12.2 percent. We're learning to love speciality cheeses, which have gone up in value by 9.5 per cent, but we're still loving those big family blocks and bags of grated cheese. Sales of blocks of cheese have gone up by 14.5 per cent - and grated cheese sales are up a whoppig 25.1 per cent!

According to Nielsen Scantrack[1] - a record of supermarket sales for the year to 9 August 2020 – total value for all cheese sales is up by 12.2% for the 12 months. Among these numbers is a strong increase for speciality cheese - up in value by 9.5%. Always a favourite with families, blocks of cheese are up 14.5% in value and grated cheese sales were up a whopping 25.1%.

So all good with the cheese - but what do you drink with them? Gone are the days where cheese would automatically be served with a wine of some kind; these days, it's all about the beer. We teamed up with the experts at New Zealand Cheese Month to come up with some clever cheese and beer pairings for you to enjoy.

How to match beer and cheese

Creating a great beer and cheese match is about balancing the level of flavour intensity so that neither element of the match dominates. Lighter beer styles such as lagers or wheat beers pair well with light, fresh cheeses such as mozzarella or burrata, while stronger more complex beers such as imperial stouts stand up to older, more pungent cheese. A cold, frothy beer cuts through the rich, mouth coating fat of a cheese prepping your palate for another bite.

Everyone’s palate is different and it could take a few trys to find something which will rock your world. Here are a few of our favourite combos to get you started…

Cheddar and IPA 

Match the sharpness of the cheddar to the hop strength of the beer for a fool-proof pairing that’s bound to convert the most sceptical critic. Behemoth does a great range of IPA, and the Deep Creek Hazy IPA pairs really well as a before-dinner beer & cheese snack. 

Stout and blue cheese

The bold flavour of a blue cheese gears it up to handle the heft of a rich, malty stout. Sweetness and chocolatey flavours in the malt profile of the beer paired with the saltiness of the cheese make a perfect dessert combo, think salted caramel of chocolate covered pretzels. Give Cassels & Sons Milk Stout a whirl. Note: blue cheese also pairs beautifully with a squealer of a lemony, hoppy IPA like Good George IPA.

Pilsner and burrata or mozzarella

Pilsner’s light, fruity floral notes match perfectly with the subtle fresh flavour and texture which comes from creamy, soft cheeses like mozzarella or burrata. As a pair pilsner and buffalo cheese enhance each other’s flavour rather than overwhelming. While there are loads of great pilsners that work a treat with these white balls of yumminess, it's hard to go past a classic with Emerson's Pilsner.

Spiced beer and Cumin Gouda 

A beer that's been brewed with spices like nutmeg and cinnamon is often a champion match for cumin gouda, as the flavours complement the cheese's fruity sweetness that's peppered with mild spiciness of cumin seed. Have a wade through the spice notes of Garage Project's lineup to see what works for you.

Sour Ale and Camembert

Sour beers are becoming increasingly popular and with so many flavour profiles, it can be hard to match them with a food. Pick up a mature farmhouse camembert that stinks and its earthy, barnyard flavour will complement the sour’s intense ferment. 8 Wired's Stone Free Hoppy Sour Apricot Ale brings out the fruit without losing the cheesiness of this delicious camembert.


 [1] Nielsen Scantrack, Total New Zealand Supermarkets, Period: 52 weeks to 9/8/2020