Weekend Cooking: Cheese & Beer
Most people know that beer and cheese are great together but knowing what cheese to pair with what beer isn’t always easy. Enter Janet Fletcher – Fletcher has put together Cheese & Beer to help create the perfect pairings. She says “success largely rides on contrasts and complements,” and explains why in her wonderful book. She explains the basics of cheese and beer and tells how to store and serve each one.
After the introductory chapters, each chapter is about a particular style of beer. Fletcher gives the history of the style of beer, style notes, suggests specific beers to try and cheeses to pair with them. Her explanations are brief, but detailed enough for readers to branch out on their own – each beer chapter is two pages long. I really liked the fact that she lists specific beers to try with specific cheeses, but it should be noted that the emphasis is on American craft beers although a few imports are included as well.
The back of the book contains a handy chart for pairings, a glossary, a bibliography and an index. There are also beautiful photographs spread throughout the book.
When Cheese & Beer arrived, Carl and I thought it was a gorgeous book. We flipped through it over and over before we sat down to read it. We marked lots of pairings we wanted to try before we decided the best way to really test out the book was to host a beer and cheese tasting at the store. For the tasting, we paired:
- Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils with Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam
- Jolly Pumpkin Bam Bière with Fontina Val D’Aosta
- Grand Teton Pursuit of Hoppiness with cave aged Gruyere
- Fuller’s London Porter withe Bleu D’Auvergne
Let me tell you, this tasting was a huge success. People called the pairings “wonderful” and “brilliant.” Many even enjoyed beers and/or cheeses they were hesitant to try. While every pairing had fans, the big winner of the night was the combination of the porter with the blue cheese. People have been talking about the tasting and many people have dropped in to say they’re sorry they missed it. We’ll definitely be planning another tasting using Cheese & Beer! I highly recommend this book – grab a copy if you, or someone you know, loves beer!
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