Wine with my cheese course? Nah, I’ll have some beer thanks!
“What, what what?” I hear you say. “What a ridiculous concept; beer doesn’t go with any food but curry!”
Well, I beg to differ.
And to prove that beer is a real alternative to wine when it comes to drink pairings with food, and in this instance, cheese, we organised a taste-off: a Beer versus Wine with Cheese evening.
Local Crystal Palace resident and wine writer Matt Walls championed wine while I championed beer. With 24 guests we tasted our way through 6 cheeses and 7 beers and wines. The table below shows the pairings and the votes for each.
|Ragstone, goats cheese made by Neals Yard Dairy||Norfolk brewer Grain Brewery’s wheat beer, Blonde Ash||Sancerre Domaine Sautereau from the Loire Valley, France (100% sauvignon Blanc)||Beer: 15; Wine: 9|
|Brie de Meaux from just east of Paris||London Fields Brewery’s single hop IPA, Galaxy||Wine 1: Whitehaven Riesling from Marlborough, New Zealand (100% riesling)Wine 2: Glen Carlou Pinot Noir from Paarl, South Africa (100% pinot noir)||Beer: 10; Wine: 14|
|28 month old Comte. Hard cows milk cheese from the French Alps||Windsor and Eton Brewery’s Best Bitter, Guardsman||Champagne Philipponnat Royale Reserve Brut (Pinot Noir mixed with Chardonnay and a small proportion of Pinot Meunier)||Beer: 19; Wine: 6|
|Francis, a new washed-rind cows milk cheese made in Dorset||Fyne Ales brewery’s Jarl||Chardonnay “Sous Voile”, Marie-Pierre Chevass from Jura, France (100% chardonnay)||Beer: 10; Wine: 14|
|Fearn Abbey, a new ewes milk cheese in the style of a brie made in Tain, northern Scotland||Windsor and Eton Brewery’s lager, Republika||Gaillac Blanc, Château Clément-Termes, SW France (A blend of: Mauzac, Len de LíOeil, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc)||Beer: 12; Wine: 12|
|Stichelton. A stilton in everything but name! Crucially it is unpasteurised.||Beer 1: Grain Brewery’s Porter.Beer 2: Windsor and Eton Brewery’s Conqueror (a Black IPA)||Quinta do Infantado Unfiltered Late Bottle Vintage (A blend of: Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz)||Beer: 6; Wine: 18|
So, the winner of this taste-off is wine with a score of 3-2 with one tie. One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is how many people voted for beer or wine before the evening kicked off: 15 for wine and 9 for beer. The total number of accumulated votes at the end of the evening: Beer 72, Wine 73!
However, by the end of the evening, wine only won by the single point. Considering that wine was apparently going to be the clear winner based on the initial votes I believe this to be a massive achievement for beer and, in particular, the brewers who make the lovely stuff.
My aim was fulfilled. I began the evening hoping that both would appear as an equal to wine, and I believe that it did.
So, the next time you’re deciding what to drink with your food, don’t forget to consider beer; and if you’re stuck pop into a specialist shop and ask for advice as you would do for wine.
In following posts I shall delve a little deeper into how to pair foods with beer. Don’t fret; it’s not rocket science!