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Beer v. Wine Smackdown: The Cheese Edition

By April 9, 2016 Parings No Comments
Beer v Wine Tally

PrepLast Thursday, 18 lucky people joined us for a 2-hour class to test whether beer or wine paired better with cheese.

We chose seven cheeses and then hand selected a beer and a wine to go with them.  And then it was in the hands of our guests.  Which one reigned supreme?  (Hint: It rhymes with schmear.)

To be honest, as much as we love wine (remember, we’re former winemakers), beer is just easier to pair with cheese. Why?

  • The carbonation literally lifts some of the fat off your palate. Think of them as scrubbing bubbles.  The richness of cheese often coats your mouth and makes it harder to fully taste the wine.  That’s why champagne is also a great pair with cheese.
  • Beer can be made from a wide range of malted grains, hops, and yeast, along with other add-ins, such as fruits and spices. Brewing is more like cooking, a brewer can make a beer taste like almost anything. So you have a wider range of flavors to pair.
  • By contrast, wine relies on a single ingredient – grapes – for its basic flavor profile. The rest is created by how it’s stored and aged.  You just can’t get the wide range of flavors in wine that you can in beer.
  • Because of that, wine is better at creating contrasting flavors, while beer is good at complimentary pairings.
  • Wine definitely pairs, but it’s harder to get the right match. Want to nail it? Champagne! It combines yeasty goodness with the scrubbing bubbles of beer.
Pairing Guideline 
    Pair light cheeses with lighter wines or beers.  Pair stronger cheeses with stBeer v Wine Prepronger beers and heavier wines.
    Pair common elements.  Pair a lemony goat cheese with a bright Sauvignon Blanc.  Pair a malty, sweet beer with a sweet aged gouda.
    Salty and sweet is the classic contrasting combination.  Pair that sweet, malty beer with a slightly salty aged Parmesan.
    Pair cheeses with beers and wines made in the same region.
    There are no rules, just guidelines. The best pairing is the one YOU like!
Our Pairings

Beer v Wine TallyHere’s our line up for the evening and the votes! And thanks to our neighborhood brewery friends at Diebolt Brewing for providing many of the great beers we served that night.

Jasper Hills Moses Sleeper  (Vermont, Cow’s Milk Bloomy Rind)

  • 7 votes: 2015 Zum Martin Sepp Zweigelt Austrian Rose
  • 12 votes: Diebolt C’est La Saison

Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog (California, Goat’s Milk Bloomy Rind)

  • 15 votes: Grant Fino LaGarrocha Sherry
  • 4 votes: Dales Pale Ale

Jasper Hills Alpha Tolman (Vermont, Raw Cow’s Milk Alpine Style)

  • 6 votes: 2014 Passion Has Red Lips Shiraz/Cab Sauvignon Blend
  • 13 votes: Diebolt Postcard Porter

Beehive Cheese Co. Barely Buzzed (Utah, Cow’s Milk Cheddar)  (This one surprised us!)

  • 12 votes: 2013 Old Souls Lodi Zinfandel
  • 7 votes: Diebolt Perk

Cypress Grove Lamb Chopper  (California, Sheep’s Milk Gouda)

  • 6 votes: 2013 Old Souls Lodi Zinfandel
  • 13 votes: Diebolt Commodore, Russian Imperial Stout

Jacobs & Brichford Ameribella  (Indiana, Raw Cow’s Milk Washed Rind)

  • 6 votes; 2014 Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais
  • 11 votes: Ninkasi Tricerahops Double IPA
  • 1 abstention!

Rogue River Echo Mountain Blue  (Oregon, Raw Goat & Cow’s Milk)

  • 7 votes: 2013 Old Souls Lodi Zinfandel
  • 12 votes: Diebolt Porter

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