Interested in learning more about pairing craft beers with cheese? Take some tips from John Holl, editor of All About Beer Magazine. Hobnob attended his beer and cheese tasting at The French Cheese Board in Soho, NYC and experienced the epiphany.
Holl has spent the last decade chronicling craft brewers, and has even written a book detailing these choices, The American Craft Beer Cookbook. Holl believes that there’s a perfect beer for every occasion and shared his extensive knowledge with these delicious pairings. See the details below.
#1 PAIRING APPROACH
Buttery and earthy, the cheese will take on a new dimension with the honey, biscuits, and spice that bursts forth from the beer. The Beer: Alesmith Lil’ Devil, a Belgian-style pale ale. The Cheese: Brie, soft and creamy with full, mellow flavor and rich aroma. A pale, straw-colored paste and a thin rind of white mold. Made with cow’s milk in Ile de France, aged at least 4 weeks.
#2 PAIRING APPROACH
Rich and creamy meets tart and light. The smooth, spreadable cheese with deep milk fat and slightly grassy character, gets a lift from the carbonated beer dosed with lactobacillus. This helps the fruity, candy-like flavor in the beer get an additional boost when mixed. The Beer: Lagunitas Aunt Sally, a sour ale The Cheese: Brillat-Savarin, a triple-cream cheese, buttery, smooth and mild with a slightly salty taste. It has a thin, white, flowery rind and pale yellow paste. Made with cow’s milk in Ile de France, soft-ripened, aged from 1 or 2 weeks up to 2 months.
#3 PAIRING APPROACH
A barleywine pairs well with mimolette thanks to the fruity, candy-esque, and nutty flavors. The Beer: Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot, a Barleywine, malt-forward with aromas and flavors of stone fruit and leather. The Cheese: Mimolette, sharp, nutty, fruity taste of also includes sweet hints of butterscotch. Its brilliant orange color makes it the focus of any cheese platter. Made from cow’s milk in Pas-de-Calais, France, then pressed, cooked, aged 3, 6, 12, or 24 months.
#4 PAIRING APPROACH
An assertive cheese needs an assertive beer. With flavors of chocolate, vanilla, oak, bourbon, and coffee, this beer is a sipper, taken in small doses, not unlike the bleu. The tang of the bleu also helps control some of the alcohol bite and adds a bit of sweetness. The Beer: Hoppin’ Frog Barrel Aged B.O.R.I.S, an Imperial Stout The Cheese: Bleu d’Auvergne, ivory with blue veins, this cheese is creamy with spicy flavors of grasses and wild flowers. Has a a pungent scent, and salty taste. Made with cow’s milk in Auvergne, aged at least 4 weeks. This was the crowd fave.
The French Cheese Board is a boutique that also hosts events and acts as an ambassador of the French cheese experience. Check the schedule for future cooking lessons, wine and cheese pairings sessions, and other presentations on how to indulge in French cheese. There’s also a selection of cookware and accessories to take your cheese serving to the next level.
FRENCH CHEESE BOARD, 41 Spring St (btw Mott/Mulberry)