Beer is a great thing. Cheese anyway.
Especially if they come from regional producers in the immediate vicinity and can be combined well.
In the culinary context, the combination of wine and cheese is the first association for many. But the fact that many beer styles are also very well suited for some possible combinations is only known to a few people so far.
The wonderful topic of "food pairing", i.e. the combination of beer and food, has long been commonplace in English-speaking countries, but in this country there is still room to grow into.
In the following blog series "Regional Treasures: Beer and Cheese from the Districts", Diploma cheese sommelier Harald Weidacher and Diploma beer sommelier Victoria Strallhofer from Culinary Craft Tours taste their way through the regional offerings in the districts of Tyrol and present the best combinations.
Did you know?
- That there are 20 commercial milk processors, about 50 direct marketers, and about 50 alpine pastures with cheese dairies in Tyrol?
- That the temperature of both products plays an essential role in the tasting?
- That the degree of maturity influences the choice of the right beer?
- That beer supports and prolongs the taste of cheese?
- That aromas and consistency are crucial for enjoyment?
This article offers an introduction to the topic of beer and cheese enjoyment and forms, so to speak, a basis with the most important clues for the correct and most enjoyable handling of both products.
Food pairing: How do you taste beer with cheese?
Here we can consult the classic food pairing rules, which consist of the four B's:
- Bridge (build a bridge between flavors)
- Balance (Balancing the flavors)
- Boost (Enhancement of flavors)
- Bullshit (Inappropriate combinations that trigger disharmonies)
This is what you should pay attention to for the optimal beer enjoyment:
- If possible, you should always enjoy your favorite beer at the right temperature; for bottom-fermented beers (lager, Märzen, Helles, etc.) a cooler drinking temperature of approx. 6 -8 degrees Celsius, for top-fermented beers (wheat, pale ale, Kölsch, etc.) it may be a few degrees more (11-13).
- The right beer in the right glass: depending on the style of beer, you can choose the right glass that supports the look and taste of the beer. As a rule of thumb, the lighter the beer, the slimmer the glass should be.
- Even before you take the first sip, you can judge the beer by the following factors: smell, color, turbidity and foam stability.
- With the first refreshing sip, your sense of taste comes into play: which aromas can you perceive directly, which only reveal themselves in the finish? How does carbonic acid behave in the oral cavity? Which aromas can be assigned to malt, hops or yeast?
For optimal cheese enjoyment:
- Depending on the piece of cheese, bring the pieces to room temperature (for approx. one kilo approx. allow for an hour, do not temper the cream cheese.
- Note palate logic from mild to spicy (cheese watch!)
- Do not consume spicy or very intense foods/drinks before tasting
Beer and cheese tasting instructions:
- Take a sip of beer to tune in to your taste buds
- Then take a piece of the cheese of your choice and let the flavors sink in
- After swallowing the cheese, drink some beer and leave it in your mouth for a few seconds. Your taste buds will soon tell you whether you are enthusiastic about the combination or whether you can try it further.
- Put a small piece of cheese in your mouth and press it to your roof with your tongue.
- Take another small sip of beer without swallowing it and enjoy the unfolding flavors.
The absolute do's at the tasting:
- The most important thing: Anything that tastes good is allowed!
- Try, try, try!
- Cheese and beer should complement each other in taste
- Contrasts of taste are harmonious (salty cheese – bitter beer)
- Prefer regional partnerships
Beer flavours and their effects on taste:
- Carbonic acid -> has an aroma-enhancing and cooling effect
-> has a palate-cleansing effect (ideal for greasy foods)
- Hop bitterness > balances fatty foods
-> compensates for sharpness
- Malt/caramel notes -> good bridge to fried, grilled, baked foods
- Roasted aromas/roasted bitterness > harmonize with salty dishes
Of course, everyone has to find their favorite combination of beer and cheese for themselves.
But we want to give you some pairing ideas:
Märzen: spicy cheeses such as Tilsiter or Romadur
Wheat: mild cream cheese such as mozzarella
Black beer: Cheese with nut flavors
Heller Bock: Double mold cheese, spicy sheep's cheese
In the next blog – post on the topic "Regional treasures: beer and cheese from the districts" we start our gourmet journey in the Kitzbühel region. Here we are guests in a show dairy and combine the different beer styles of a local brewery with the different cheeses of the local producers.
With this in mind: cheers for enjoyment!
Victoria Strallhofer is a certified beer sommelière and founded Culinary Craft Tours. On her tours and workshops, she brings people closer to the variety of products of Tyrolean cuisine.
Her favourite beer style: Zwickl, preferably from Tyrol
Next projects: Expansion of tours within the various regions of Tyrol and establishment of a small catering
Harald Weidacher is a certified cheese sommelier and teaches at the tourism schools at the Wilder Kaiser in St. Johann in Tirol, course director of training cheese sommelier at schools University of Applied Sciences for Agra and Environment Ober St. Veit Vienna,
His favourite cheese: spicy, intense and, if possible, from Austria
Next projects: further tastings with Victoria ("beer and cheese"), cheese training for the consumer / end user, acquaintance of our wonderful Austrian cheese specialties