Beer and Cheese (Part II)
As you have already understood from the first part, cheeses are a whole world. Accordingly, they require certain rules of storage and tasting. In France, cheeses are often served as a dessert in their own right, but mostly they are served as an appetizer. Cheese is usually served with wine, but I want to talk about the right combination of Beer and Cheese.
As noted in the first part of this article, the appetizer should not overpower the taste of the beer – dominate it. So a very salty cheese can’t go with a delicate and slightly aromatic lager. Strong Belgian ale cannot be combined with a tasteless, neutral cheese. Beer and snack should be a duet. They should emphasize and complement the flavors of each other.
Don’t take my advice as dogma. It’s just a clue as to what direction you should go in. Perhaps you won’t find a particular cheese or you just don’t like a certain combination. In that case, you can pick your “pairings” as well, the main thing is that they don’t overwhelm each other, but complement each other. And my recommendations, I hope, will help you with that.
The most common beer in the world is lager. Among the lagers, however, the Pilsner is particularly distinctive. In Israel, you can try a very decent classic local Pilsner – Carlsberg. It is perfect for the hot Israeli climate – it is quite dense and not very bitter. But if you’re attracted to more hoped-for beers, I can recommend the classics of the genre – Bitburger. Both are fresh in flavor, aroma, and pleasant bitterness. This beer is served well chilled straight from the fridge, although I would recommend you warm it up a bit. If you keep it out of the fridge for about ten minutes, you will truly discover its flavor and aroma.
Normally, lagers are snacked with nuts and olives, but not a bright soft cheese like mascarpone or ricotta will do as well. Neutral yellow cheese, sliced into cubes, will also be in harmony with a calm lager – beer for every day.
At the end of the 19th century, Emil Christian Hansen first bred a cultured race of beer yeast. This was the beginning of a new kind of beer – lager. Other beers were brewed long before lagers. So in Europe, particularly in England, pale ales have always been popular. It is mild in taste, moderately bitter and not very strong beer. A beer that you can drink a lot of and is a wonderful attribute for a warm, friendly conversation.
Semi-hard cheeses go well with pale English ales. They are cheeses with a dense, creamy consistency, produced without additional processing, such as smoking or melting, and covered with a crust (moldy or natural). Cheeses such as Tel-a-Emek, Elemental, Cantal, Edam, Gouda, Oltermanni, Russian, Dutch, Kostroma, Uglich and Estonian are very popular with consumers and go well with light ale.
Belgian wheat beer was born in Western Europe in the XV-XVI centuries. It was during this period Europeans got acquainted with oriental spices. In addition to ungerminated wheat, coriander seeds and the zest of oranges of a special variety are added to this beer. A slice of lemon added to a glass of this beer emphasizes its citrus flavors and gives them a contrast. One of the best representatives of this beer in Israel is Hoegaarden.
I prefer to snack on Hoegaarden with toasted wheat bread, smeared with olive oil. Fresh salads with orange slices or dried cranberries also go well with this beer. Soft fresh cheeses like mascarpone, feta, ricotta or mozzarella are also a great snack with Belgian wheat beer.
German Style Hefeweizen beer must contain at least half wheat malt and is made with a special race of yeast. It is they who give this beer a unique taste and aroma. The most famous representatives of this variety in our country are Weihenstephaner, Paulaner and Franziskaner.
German-style wheat beer is slightly sweet, has low bitterness and a spicy, spicy flavor with a hint of citrus. This combination allows you to match it with a variety of appetizers. Personally, I like this beer with fish baked in the oven.
Normally Bavarian wheat beer is not served with cheeses, but if you want to, I suggest a juicy burrata or mozzarella de Buffalo, especially with pieces of cherry tomatoes. Brie cheese also goes well with this beer. These cheeses are quite delicate and at the same time have “its own face”.
The next beer in our story is a Belgian ale. The main difference between Belgian ales and other beers is the fullness and richness of flavor. Both ordinary pale ales and strong monastery beers usually have a complex and bright bouquet of flavors and aromas. Grilled or oven-grilled meats with various sauces go well with these beers. For example, white turkey meat with nut sauce goes wonderfully with light Belgian ales, which often have nutty notes along with spice flavors.
One of the classifications of Belgian beer is classification by strength:
Regular – containing up to 6% alcohol
Dubbel – containing 6% to 7.8% alcohol
Tripel – containing 7.9% – 9.5% alcohol
Quadrupel – contains from 9.1% to 14.2% alcohol, but because of its high strength this beer is not suitable for everyone.
Among the Belgian ales sold in Israel, I can recommend the entire line of Leffe and St. Bernardus beers, as well as the Trappist ale La Trappe. “Dubbel La Trappe” is usually liked by almost everyone. Belgian robust ales are the perfect pairing for a rich meaty meal. But if you just want to enjoy this interesting beer, then as an appetizer, I would advise brightly flavored cheeses to complement the juicy palette of this strong beer. These include Gouda and a good aged Cheddar. Personally, I prefer a slice of Gorgonzola to this beer.
And the last beer is Robust Porter. I would also add Russian Imperial Stout to this group. They have in common a high alcohol content, a full body and a strong bitterness, but also a sweetness. These varieties are characterized by the taste and aroma of well roasted malt and often chocolate. In Israel you can buy the good Fuller Porter and the wonderful Ukrainan Porter “Lvivske Porter”. And another great beer that I can recommend to you is an imperial stout from the German brewery Riegele called Noctus 100.
Porter and strong stouts make an excellent dessert. The perfect accompaniment to this beer would be a bitter chocolate with a good cup of espresso coffee. You can also add caramel Lotus cookies. If you don’t want sweets, but rather to snack on this beer with cheese, I suggest a strong aged cheddar or gouda, you can also try a piece of Parmesan or pecorino.
I only tried to open the door to the magical world of Beer and Cheese. I hope I succeeded. The rest is up to you – go for it, friends!