How to Pair Beer with Cheese, Dessert – Entertaining, Party Tips

While wine and cheese events are a mainstay of polite (and even impolite) society nowadays, an increasing trend of interest towards hosting a beer and cheese party is becoming quite evident. Beer is the perfect companion for a good cheese and will hit the spot quite nicely – just be sure not to overindulge!

Pairing Beer with Cheese – Creamy, Sharp, Mild, or Blue

  • Lighter cheeses like brie, havarti, provolone, and mozzarella call for pairing with American or Canadian style light lagers – the first beers that come to mind are Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob, Miller Genuine Draft, Labatt Blue, or Molson Canadian. If serving at a more formal function, serving the beer in a pilsner glass or a flute glass is appropriate.
  • Sharper cheeses such as cheddar, chevre, or swiss call for a stronger, hoppier beer in order to mingle with the taste of the cheese. Therefor, English or India Pale Ale as well as stronger lager may be the most complimentary choice. Popular American and Canadian beers for this purpose include Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale, Alexander Keith’s Red, India Beer, Michelob Pale Ale, or Rickard’s Red.
  • Finally, blue cheeses are divided into two primary categories – mild / creamy and robust / sharp. Milder blue cheeses pair nicely with sweet stouts (Guiness, Samuel Adams Cream Stout), while sharper and more robust cheeses call for a mellow ale such as Blue Star, Sleeman’s Cream Ale, or Eric’s Red.

Pairing Beer with Dessert – Fruit, Chocolate Cake, and Cream

  • In considering a pairing between beer and a dessert comprised mainly of fruit, the best types of beer to consider would be, once again light lagers – tending refreshing – or Mexican beers. Corona, Bavaria, Sol, or Miller Genuine Draft are excellent candidates.
  • Chocolate desserts pair best with stouts, particularly milk stouts or chocolate stouts if one can avail themselves. Dark Horse Too Cream Stout, Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout, or Left Hand Milk Stout (as well as the stout’s listed earlier) would be the best choices – followed by just about any bock or dopplebock.
  • Rich and creamy desserts such as cream pies or cheesecake call for medium bodied pale ales and lagers. Standard Budweiser, Bell’s Amber Ale, or St. Rogue Red would fit the bill quite nicely.

By tossing all the old conventions surrounding the pairing of beer with dessert or with cheese out of the window and giving new life to a somewhat staid convention (wine and cheese, wine and dessert), intrepid entertainers or party-throwers would do well to think of beer during their next planning session!

Other Articles on Beer, Wine, and Spirit by Nicholas Morine

Those who enjoy wine might enjoy a review of Domaine de Grand Pre’s Marechal Foch, or interviews with Nova Scotian vintners from L’Acadie Vineyards or Muir Murray Estates.