Earlier this month we hosted a cheese and beer pairing evening, with a fantastic selection of cheeses from IJ Mellis all paired with a different Stewart Brewing beer. We had a great time with Ben from IJ Mellis sampling beers and cheeses in advance, and working out which ones we thought worked best together – based on all the positive feedback we received, it’s safe to say our guests thought the same!
Beer is a great companion for all kinds of food, but especially cheese – the carbonation of beer helps as a palate cleanser, and the array of flavours, whether straightforward or complex, are more forgiving when pairing with food than, say, wine, which is the obvious go-to when pairing alcohol with food. These flavour combinations can create a wonderful and memorable dining experience, since you can have flavours that complement each other, contrast each other, or even strong food flavours toned down by a refreshingly palate-cleansing beer.
To whet your appetite for future events like this that we will be holding in the future, we thought we would share some of the pairings featured on the evening, and hopefully it’ll inspire you all to try them. If you’re already a cheese and beer connoisseur, however, let us know what your favourite pairings are!
Thanks again to Ben from IJ Mellis for coming along to the brewery and helping host such a fun, informative evening. Until next time!
A sample of the cheese and beer pairings from 1st March
Durrus – Cow’s Milk – Ireland, Co.Cork
Hedgerow Sour – 4.2% Mixed Berry Sour
A washed rind, cow’s milk cheese from Cork, Ireland, with earthy, mushrooms notes, a full texture and irregular tiny holes.
We chose our limited edition Hedgerow Sour to pair with this gorgeous cheese, because the sourness and the fruitiness of the beer perfectly contrasts with the savoury flavours of the cheese. This is a sour beer which has been fermented on a load of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries to give it that lovely sweet tang. The body is nice and smooth, due to the addition of oats in the brewing process.
Ragstone – Goats Milk – England
Edinburgh Gold – 4.8% Golden Ale
A raw milk goats cheese from Suffolk, England, which is soft, oozy and creamy under the rind, with a classic lemony, farmy tang.
We picked our Edinburgh Gold golden ale to go with this goats cheese, because of its full flavour but light body. The slightly sweet malt flavour and subtle bitterness (from European hops which are much more subtle than New World hops) complement the sharpness of the cheese, and the light drinkability and the carbon dioxide from the beer helps rinse the mouth clean between bites, since goats cheese tends to leave a greasy film on the mouth and tongue.
Isle of Mull Cheddar – Cow’s Milk – Scotland
Radical Road – 6.4% Triple Hopped Pale Ale
A big bold cheddar from the Hebrides which is very popular across the country. It has underlying flavours of sweet grass and hay, and is characterised by its mouth watering acidity and fruitiness.
Many call this the ultimate cheese for beer pairing, and with just a little taste you can instantly see why it’s also one of Scotland’s most popular cheeses. The strong and nutty flavour is perfect for pairing with a full-flavoured beer, which is why we chose Radical Road – a 6.4% triple hopped pale ale. It has gorgeously strong bittersweet marmalade, grapefruit and pine flavours, which cut through the richness of this cheese and complement its grassy flavours, and the smooth medium body holds up well to the tangy fruitiness of the cheese.
Lanark Blue – Ewes Milk – Scotland
Not Your Buddy Guy – 6.8% Canadian Breakfast Maple Stout
A sheep’s milk blue from Lanakshire in Scotland. Reminiscent of Roquefort, it is earthy and farmy but at the same time still tangy and creamy.
Stouts and blue cheeses are just the perfect combination, which is why we picked our yummy Not Your Buddy Guy Canadian breakfast stout to go with the Lanark Blue cheese. The beer is a very full-bodied stout with maple-roasted coffee added which we brewed with Electric Bear brewery down in Bath. The sweetness of the stout cuts right through the salty creamy cheese, and the two flavours meld really well together. Plus, the oats that are added to the brew make it super smooth and soft to drink, and the roasted coffee adds a level of bitterness, which we think make it the perfect partner to a strong tangy blue cheese.