Choosing the right beverage for your cheese board can be a bit of a challenge. You might be wondering which is better, wine or beer?
Both can work perfectly so long as you match the flavour profile of the cheese with that of the beer or wine. For instance, lighter cheeses should be paired with light bodied wines and beers, whereas stronger flavoured beers and wines better compliment tangier cheeses.
To ensure your cheese board is not spoiled by the wrong wine or beer, we have put together our favourite pairings:
Choosing One Drink for the Entire Cheese Board
If you are looking to serve one beverage with your cheese board, then a sweet white wine or a light beer are safe choices.
White wine and cheese
A cheese and wine hamper can taste wonderful, but as a rule, white wine matches with cheese better than red wine. The freshness combined with the acidity of white wine compliments many cheeses better than the robust and heavier notes of red wine. However, as with cheese, there are many varieties of white wine and not all of them are suitable.
A slightly sweet white wine often works well as an all-rounder, but try to find one with a good acidity to cut through the richness of the cheese. In particular, German Riesling balances sweetness and acidity well – a match made in heaven for many cheeses.
Crisp variations of Chardonnay that have been matured briefly in barrels also pair nicely with cheese, especially the soft and rich kind like Brie. However, Chardonnays that have spent longer in barrels are less suitable due to their more full-bodied taste.
Dry white wines should be also avoided as they rarely pair well with the creaminess and richness of cheese.
Beer and cheese
When it comes to pairing beer with a cheese board, milder beer brings out interesting flavours in cheese and goes well with many. For example, a classic pale lager from almost any brewery will compliment your cheese selection. Soft cheeses, like brie or camembert, will bring out the caramel flavour in the lager, whilst the sharpness of aged cheeses (both hard and semi-soft) is brought out by the pale lager.
And let’s not forget hops: hoppy lager or India Pale Ale highlights the acidity in cheese with its bitter and fruity notes.
Steer away from very strong beers, which only pair well with cheeses that match it in strength and richness as they easily drown out lighter flavours. The same goes for beer with a high alcohol percentage, which can complement aged cheeses but clash with milder varieties.
Choosing One Drink Per Cheese Type
Another way to make your wine or beer work is by having a themed cheese board. Cheeses can be divided into 2-3 groups to be served:
Mild and creamy cheeses: Brie, Camembert, soft goat cheese, Mozzarella, and Feta.
These tend to be the richest of all cheeses. A pale lager would go well, or a crisp white wine like a Chardonnay (so long as it isn’t too oaky). Salty cheese like Feta goes particularly well with a Riesling.
Firm and aged cheeses: Cheddar, Parmesan, Emmental, and Beaufort.
These typically have savoury and nutty notes that need stronger flavours to complement it – think a slightly sweeter white wine like a Sherry or a heavier Belgian beer.
Blue cheeses: Stilton, Gorgonzola, Cambozola, Roquefort, and Montagnolo Affine.
A strong and sweet beverage balances out the saltines of the cheese. An oaky chardonnay or a sweet dessert wine (red or white) works well with the pungency of the cheese – particularly with Gorgonzola. Heavy beers with a high alcohol percentage are also a good match with blue cheese.
Wine or beer? There is no right answer here – both works well. The most important thing to do is to match drink and cheese in strength.
Whether you choose one wine or beer for your varied cheeseboard or one to match a themed cheeseboard, it is worth exploring some options to find your favourite pairing. Why not do a test tasting beforehand? You are sure to get a better result whilst having fun in the process.
Order the Perfect Cheeseboard with Cheese Cuisine
Whether you prefer a glass of vino or a craft beer, we have the perfect cheeseboard for you at Cheese Cuisine. We supply a selection of wine to create the perfect cheese and wine hamper, along with our award-winning range of accompaniments, from tasty chutneys to oatcakes and crispbreads.
Order today with Cheese Cuisine or email our friendly team at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.