We know that in the chaos of the holidays and entertaining, it can be overwhelming to plan a full menu — much less a menu that pairs well with your drink of choice. Let us do the explaining, and share with you the easiest way to start a meal: beer and cheese.
Hear us out: Beer is quickly becoming the drink of choice when pairing foods, because it's just as versatile as wine. As Julia Herz, a certified cicerone from Craftbeer.com (and the Brewer's Assocation) explained to us, beer is a more sessionable drink of choice (5 percent ABV compared to 12 percent ABV), and has the magic of wine when paired with food — it complements, contrasts, and cuts the taste of the food you're eating. Take a spicy food, Herz says: beer easily tames the capsaicin heat because of its lower ABV, while wine can actually clash with that same heat.
Herz and Craftbeer.com gave us loads of suggestion for foods that can easily be paired with beer, and that includes lots of our favorite cheeses. So instead of stressing over making apps for the hungry army about to attack your Thanksgiving dinner, cut up a hunk of cheese and call it a day. Here, the best craft beers for your cheeses:
If you are drinking: IPA
Pair with: Blue cheeses, gorgonzola, or cambozola. An IPA, the top selling type of craft beer, needs a cheese to pair with the umami flavors of the beer. The hops complement, and calm, the richness of a blue cheese.
If you are drinking: Porter
Pair with: Cow milks, like Gruyère and tilsit. A porter can stand up to heavier foods, like roasted and smoked meats, but can be easily tamed with a Gruyère.
If you are drinking: Pilsener
Pair with: A mild white Cheddar from Vermont, or feta. You get the creamy and salty flavors together, while the bitterness of the beer calms the richness in a fattier cheese like feta.
If you are drinking: Hefeweizen
Pair with: Chèvre goat cheese. Hefeweizens are meant to be paired with lighter foods, which makes goat cheese a no-brianer pairing.
If you are drinking: Brown Ale
Pair with: A mild Cheddar; the flavors of the Cheddar will go nicely with the dark fruit and malt flavors of the beer.