Beer Types: A Pairing Guide

Beer Types: A Pairing Guide

What this is: A simple guide to beer and cheese pairings.

Who it’s for: Any beer-and-cheese-loving soul.

Beer + cheese? Yes please! We’re not the first ones to state that beer is a great beverage choice for pairing with cheese, but we do have this short and sweet checklist to help you figure out which beers to pair with which cheeses, and which pairings to pair, too! 

One important note is that the bitterness in a pairing can bring out an unwanted bitterness in the cheese. This can be fixed by adding a delicious and intense pairings that can act as a sort of mediator and build a bridge of flavors so that everything plays well together.

These pairings are just your no-fail guide but feel free to experiment. With all the innovative varieties of beers on the market and the addition of food pairings, the world is your six pack.

WHEAT/HEFEWEIZEN

This type covers a wide variety of beers from Germany, Belgium and the United States. They are generally clean and crisp but some can be fruity or spicy. Clove, banana and vanilla are just a few of the flavors created by the yeast strains.

Cheese it pairs with:

KOLSH

Kolsh is a protected beer from Koln, Germany and is pale, hoppy, clear and bright.

Cheese it pairs with:

PILSNER/PALE LAGER

Covers a wide variety of beers but they are typically crisp with a little bit of spice, hops or malt, depending on where they are from.

Cheese it pairs with: 

SAISON

Originating in Belgium, these are commonly called farmhouse ales and are a light amber color and are usually made with spices.

Cheese it pairs with:

SOUR/WILD

These beers have an intentional or sour taste and often have spices added. They are traditionally Belgian and German. Lambics and Gose fall into this category.

Cheese it pairs with:

BELGIAN/ABBEY

Originally produced in conjunction with a particular monastery, these beers now can be made all over. 

Cheese it pairs with:

PALE ALE

These beers cover a wide variety of tastes and strengths depending on the amount of hops, from amber to blonde.

Cheese it pairs with:

IPA

India Pale Ale was originally developed in England for export to India and can range from very gold to amber in color and is characterized by intense hoppy flavor.

Cheese it pairs with:

STRONG ALE

These beers are primarily characterized by their high alcohol percentages (usually 7% or higher). They are typically amber or even darker.

Cheese it pairs with:

DARK LAGER

This category is also known as Dunkle in German and they typically range in color from amber to dark brown. The flavor profile tends to be smooth and malty.

Cheese it pairs with:

BROWN ALE

These range in color from amber to dark brown and have a wide range in tastes from caramel to chocolate to malty to nutty, depending on the ingredients.

Cheese it pairs with:

STOUT/PORTER

Stouts and Porters are dark, malty beers often made with roasted barley. Stouts tend to be stronger than Porters.

Cheese it pairs with:

BOCK

This class of beer is known for being both strong and smooth. They are typically amber with strong malt flavors and light hops.

Cheese it pairs with:

HOMEWORK

Time to drink beer and experiment. Find your favorite beer on this list and purchase a few cheeses that pair with that beer. Grab a couple different types of your favorite beer and have a tasting. Which cheese do you like better with which beer? Did it make it taste better, the same, worse? If you added any food pairings, how did they affect how much you like the cheese and beer? 

Downloads

Click the icons to download a pdf of this lesson and our two handy guides: How Cheese is Made and Cheese and Pairing Types.

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