Try as I might, getting friends to understand that beer pairs well with food has been tough. I may need to bite the bullet and have an actual beer/food party someday (I loathe the idea of hosting a party at my house), but in the meantime, we have an annual “wine & cheese” party and I always make it a beer & cheese party for myself.
It’s the classic dilemma… marketing has programmed us to think that when “adults” have a party that wine is THE drink, especially if it’s with food, yet the foods being enjoyed (cheese, chocolate, desserts) all pair much better with beer, on average, than wine! But, programmed we are, so while I see the Matrix and know how to break free, my friends will still be trying to pair things that really just don’t go all that well together! Sheesh!
Since good cheese is on the pricy side and I am a seasoned beer buyer, I generally head to Whole Foods first to buy my cheese, then select some beers. It’s so easy with beer it’s almost ridiculous! lol If I can find a nice gouda, which WF often has, I will try to find a good rye or brown. I did Goose Island Nut Brown ale last year and it went great with dang near everything, so hopefully I can try a rye that isn’t Hop Rod Rye (more of an IPA).
The sliceable hard cheeses like cheddar will go with practically anything, so I could take a few bottles and see what strikes me… IPA, any Belgians, doppelbocks and pilsners all pair well with these cheeses.
I’m generally not into smoked beers all that much, but I might try a traditional rauchbier with a gouda, too. I wonder if smoked beer with smoked cheese would be overkill? Probably.
After I’ve done my pairings and enjoyed them, I’ll give a full review of the event and the beers and the cheeses. I really wish I had been able to bring a bottle or two of the New Glarus Tart Raspberry home with me from Wisconsin, though, as that beer would KILL with chocolate!