The beer is on the table. Beer and cheese
The family of cheeses, like cold cuts, is extremely broad, but - a part a few low-fat cheeses - the vast majority are semi-fat (20-42%) or fat (over 42%). The fat content of cheeses is fundamental to define the body of the beer to match with them; also the grade of maturation has to be taken into account, among the other parameters.There is then another classification used to determine the characteristics of “taste” of the matches. This is the moisture level, determining the difference between soft cheeses (over 40% moisture) or hard cheeses (less than 40% moisture). The most correct parameter to assess a match consists in pairing cheese with a beer of similar structure, by applying a parameter of structural balance.
Bitterness, sparkliness, blends of malts with different complexity are some of the beer characteristics to take into account in order to support or contrast, in case of predominant taste, the flavour of cheese, that can be sapid, buttery, aromatic, herbaceous or spicy. Therefore, taking into account the balance principle, for more light and low-fat cheeses we will use beers not covering the delicacy or the light taste of food: pale Lager with a thin body and generally light. If we think of Taleggio cheese – soft and washed crust– of the most common type, which in 2-3 months of maturation has been washed a few times with salty water, we have a cheese neither too salty nor too mature, but characterised by a typical flavour, that has to be matched with a medium-bodied beer, such as a Bock or a low fermentation double malt.
If, instead, we think of Parmigiano or Padano cheese, that in 12 months (minimum) of maturation lost most of its water, we have a more sapid and structured product, which need a more important beer, such as a pale double malt. For blue cheeses, such as sweet or mature Gorgonzola, with an intense and sharp aroma, we will use, respectively, a brown Belgian Abbey or a Trappist beer. For smoked scamorza and, in general, for smoked cheeses, a Rauch Bier is the ideal match.Another element that might modify the match cheese/beer is bread that, if little salty, softens the strongest flavours.
Find out also the beers to pair with cold cuts and pizza.