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Wine v. Beer Smackdown: DIY Version

Beer v. Wine Smackdown

Beer v. Wine SmackdownLast Friday, 22 lucky people joined us for a 2-hour class to test whether beer or wine paired better with cheese.

We chose five cheeses and paired each with a beer and a wine.  Then we ate, drank and voted!  Spoiler alert: Wine won.  But we were actually surprised by the outcome because, 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.

Despite all of that, wine won?  How come?  Well we’d like to think that it’s because we’re really good pairing wine and cheese.  And that might be part of it.  The truth is that a good wine and cheese pairing can be amazing.  But it’s harder to get those pairings right.  Beer is very forgiving.

Couldn’t make the class?  Invite some friends over and recreate it.  Huge chalkboard is optional.  But with or without it, it’s a really fun night. You can get the wine and cheese from us and the beers from our neighborhood friends at Diebolt Brewery.

Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog  (California, Goat Milk)
Wine: Domaine Roger Parrin Cotes du Rhone Prestige Blanc (France)
Beer: Diebolt Anton Francois French Ale (ABV: 5.8%)

Pleasant Ridge Reserve  (Wisconsin, Raw Cow Milk)
Wine: Bradford Mountain Red Field Blend (California)
Beer: Diebolt Colorado Greenback IPA (ABV: 6%)

Beecher’s Reserve Cheddar (Seattle, Cow Milk)
Wine: Zestos Old Vine Garnacha (Spain)
Beer: Diebolt Wiggy Wiggy Hibiscus Saison (ABV: 6%)

Widmer’s Brick (Wisconsin, Cow Milk)
Wine: Prisma Vallee Casablanca Pinot Noir (Argentina)
Beer: Diebolt Charlie Blackberry Kettle Sour (ABV: 6%)

Firefly Black and Blue (Maryland, Goat Milk)
Wine: Chateau Pajzos Tokaji (Hungary)
Beer: Diebolt Postcard Porter (ABV: 5.6%)

Pairing Guidelines 

Want some more general information on pairing cheese with adult beverages?  Here are the main guidelines to help you.

    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!