Pairing beer and cheese 101 | The Gourmand & Gourmet

Pairing beer and cheese 101

If we were to say ‘cheese and…,’ you’d probably automatically say ‘crackers.’ But, we say there’s another word that could just as easily fit in there. No, not wine – beer. That’s right, beer and cheese is the new power couple in the world of food pairings, and it’s a duo you could happily invite along to any occasion. Sunday afternoon cheese sessions at your favourite outdoor bar? There’s a perfect summer pairing for that – and with many beers 99.9% sugar free on average, especially those featured in Beer the Beautiful Truth, you won’t even have to worry about the calories. Celebratory dinners at home with a decadent cheese board to finish things off? Try matching the perfect beer to your spread – you might even win over a few others, especially when you tell them beer is also preservative free. As knowledgeable as we are in the world of cheese, we decided we needed some help in the beer and cheese matching department, so we had a chat to cheese expert Lee-ann Castles (now isn’t that a dream job), about the perfect pairings for our favourite bries, blues and cheddars.


Much like the three Rs, there are three golden rules for pairing beer and cheese: contrast, complement and cleansing. While different cheese lovers might have different preferences, the basic principle is to choose flavours that work together and complement each other, not cancel each other out. Also, to get the most out of your pairing, pick a cheese that’s just been cut from the wheel or close to its best before date – you want the full flavour to match that crisp, fresh beer.


Brown/amber ale + sharp vintage cheddar
The strong, bitey flavours of vintage cheddar need a slightly sweet, caramelly brew to match them – and after this pairing, you’ll never want to go back to wine again. Try: James Squire Jack of Spades Porter or Toohey’s Old with King Island Surprise Bay Cheddar
Lager + washed rind
Even if you’ve never been a fan of an earthy (and admittedly, slightly odourous) washed rind, try it with a crisp, cleansing lager to cut through that creaminess – you might find you like smelly cheese after all. Try: XXXX Gold with Tasmanian Heritage Red Square
Pale ale + triple cream brie/camembert
A luscious triple cream brie is everyone’s favourite cheese – so it only makes sense it would pair with one of the most popular styles of beer. Cleansing and lifting that sweet, creamy cheese from the palette, this is the combo everyone will enjoy. Try: Little Creatures Pale Ale with Seal Bay Triple Cream Brie
Dark, malty beers + blue cheese
Sweet and salty combos are in so many of our favourite things (salted caramel, margaritas… we could go on), so this is one pairing we can really get behind. The heavy, malty flavours of IPAs, stouts and porters combine with the strong, salty cheese to create heaven in a mouthful. Try: James Squire Hop Thief 8 with King Island Roaring 40s Blue
Amber ale + gruyere
Not so much contrasting as complementing, the toffee-like sweetness of a malty amber ale is the perfect match for a nutty gruyere. Try: Rogers Amber Ale from Little Creatures with Heidi Farm Gruyere Want to find out what else you can pair with beer? Head to Beer the Beautiful Truth for recipes, pairings and more. For more information and inspiration on the facts behind your favourite beers visit – who this article was created in partnership with.