Holiday Cheese and Beer Pairings
You may want to maim me for saying this, but Christmas is right around the corner and there is no denying it. With the holiday season comes the holiday party and I know that my in-laws’ annual party is the highlight of the year for many folks. But these parties don’t just happen out of thin air, the key to success is planning. And by planning I mean buying beer. But before we head out and buy beer let’s take a look at the menu.
Your typical holiday party has a good supply of cheese in it; from cheese balls to aged cheddar to fondue. Cheese is beer’s homeboy. They love each other and your mouth will want to go steady with both of them so let’s start the speed dating.
I’s an IPA’s best friend and even those who may not particularly enjoy this hoppy little beer will find that the bitterness in the cheddar helps to tame the bitterness in the beer and what you are left with is something beautiful. Seek out these fine IPA’s and you will be set:
• Phillips Hop Circle IPA
• Sawdust City Lone Pine IPA
• Muskoka Mad Tom IPA
I love this style of cheese but it doesn’t love big beers. Gouda is generally a milder tasting cheese that can take a little bit of hoppiness but not a great deal. It wants a beer that can help show
off some of its creamy, nutty flavours.
• Granite Brewery’s Peculiar English Ale
• Wellington’s Arkell Best Bitter
• Belhaven Best
It’s big and beautiful and it doesn’t care who knows it. We are going to need a beer that has an ego big enough to step up to this cheese. You can go with some big stouts or if you have a friend around and want to break out a barley wine, now is your chance.
• La Vache Folle Imperial Milk Stout
• Amsterdam Tempest Imperial Stout
• Mill St Vanilla Porter
This cheese tends to be milder in flavour and can’t really go toe to toe with the big kids on the block. We need some more sensitive beers that are more subtle like European lagers or pilsners.
• Steam Whistle Pilsner
• Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier
(add a little smoked meat with the cheese)
• King Brewery Pilsner
This variety of beers isn’t just good for pairing with your cheese plates; they will also satisfy the most discerning beer geek in your neighbourhood and ensure that everyone can find something that they like. But if you want to go that extra mile and suggest beers to your guests based on the cheese they are eating you may just find that the “Joneses” are trying to keep up with you!
Too much work searching out these beers? Here are some variety packs that will give you a little bit of everything:
• Ontario Craft Brewers Brewmaster’s Choice Discovery Pack
• BC Craft Brewer’s Natural Selections Sampler Pack
• Beau’s Oktoberfest Gift Pack