When we think of pairing beverages with cheese our first thought would probably be wine and cheese or dessert wines and big bold cheeses but this past week we had an epiphany in the shop and discovered how fantastic a Belgian IPA goes with a medium creamy blue veined cheese (Fourme D'Ambert). After a little research we found some great tips for pairing cheese and beer. While we love wine, and always will, we would encourage you to experiment with some of the craft beers we sell and look for cheese at Sobey's or Mountain Mercato here in Canmore. Mercato has an excellent selection of artisan cheese and Sobey's has expanded their offerings as well.
When it comes to pairing items it is usually best to consider the approach of matching intensity with intensity. If you have a mild beer then you would pick a mild cheese for example. Taking the approach of matching intensities prevents one product from overwhelming the other. You can also take the approach of working with similarities; for example, if you have a super rich triple cream cheese then you would pick a nice full bodied stout (rich, low acid beer). If you are a fan of mild goat cheese then you would want to work with the acidity in the cheese and pick a beer with higher acid like a wheat beer.
If you are a cheddar fan you will want to pick a brew that has a mild malt character and that would be a brown ale. Aged cheddar typically has some nutty characteristics which play well off an ale. Canada makes lots of great cheddar cheese. Look for Balderson's Aged Cheddar to pair with a Naramata Nut Brown Ale.
For big and bold blue cheeses a great experiment is to pair with a Belgian IPA or Belgian Style IPA. Blue Cheese can be pretty intese and so is a Belgian IPA. The power of the cheese is matched by the intensity of the beer. A great pairing would be a Fourme D'Ambert with a bottle of Lighthouse "Uncharted" Belgian IPA.Now, if you really like to get your stink on and enjoy washed-rind cheeses go for a Trappist Ale from Belgium. The funkiness of the cheese needs to be mellowed and a good Tappist beer is a classic pairing as the beer is strong, dry on the mid palate and spicy which will bring out the underlying fruitiness of the cheese and match the intensity of the cheese. Consider a Gruyere cheese which should be readily available with a Westmalle Trappist Tripel beer from Belgium.