Beer makes the perfect companion to cheese, sharing many of its flavors, like nuttiness, richness, and caramel and toffee notes.
The recommended approach when pairing beer and cheese is to put mild with mild, and intense with intense, so that nothing overwhelms anything else. As for flavors, you can play on similarities like a rich, buttery triple cream with a full-bodied stout, or contrasts a creamy, mild goat's cheese with a sweet, high-acid wheat beer.
Some pairings to try:
Brie and Bloomy rind cheeses: When paired with a white beer, the mushroom flavour disappears, leaving a taste of whipped cream with a hint of lemon. The same occurs with a fruity beer: the fruit and cream combine to produce a veritable dessert. With red ale, the Brie’s cream tends to blend with the beer’s caramel tones to eliminate the freshness of the mushroom notes. Try La Trappeur triple cream Brie, Ma Cremier Brie or Riopelle De l'Isle.
Mild Cheddar: With the great golden beers, Cheddar’s creamy body accentuates the beer’s maltiness. White beers confer to the cream a flavour reminiscent of lemon pie. Pairings with red ales and pale ales, meanwhile, give rise to a butterscotch effect. In the company of a porter or a stout, the cream interacts with the roasting smells to result in espresso or latte notes. Try Double Gloucester, Cheddar Ile aux Grues.
Swiss style cheeses: The maltiness of national golden-beer brands complements the cheese’s hazelnut accents, producing a sweet, unctuous creamy core. With a pale ale, Canadian Swiss brings out the freshness of the hops. Walnut, hazelnut and almond notes come together with the cream in a harmonious finish. Louis d'Or, Handeck, Ménestrel, Le Maréchal
Aged Gouda: Aged Gouda and white beer are meant to be together. The latter envelops the bitterness of Gouda with its mildness, without masking the cheese’s spiciness. The after-taste is often sustained and sumptuous. Red or pale ales provide generous caramel caresses and highlight the cheese’s buttery flavour to yield a sweet dessert! Try Lankaaster, Picobello.
Washed Rinds: Semi-firm washed-rind cheeses, like the renowned OKA Artisan, distinguish themselves by their pungent aromas and their creamy cores. This sophisticated cheese prefers less hoppy beers. It pairs up best with the mass-market beers, whether golden or red, but often leads to excessive bitterness with a pale ale, porter or stout. If you enjoy bitterness, however, this is a plus. Try Mont Jacob, Comtomme, Niagara Gold.
Creamy Blue types: These cheeses complement mild or fruity beers, and mingle well with the roasting smells of dark porter or stout beers. They soften up readily when served with any mass market golden or red beers, whose smooth maltiness embraces Blue’s saltiness and brings out the cream’s mildness. Try Bleu d'Élizabeth, Stilton.