Irish Farmhouse Cheese and Craft Beer – A Match Made in Heaven
We’re very lucky here in Ireland to have two wonderful complementary industries in farmhouse cheese and craft beer, whose products can be paired together for the simplest of snacks, a delicious meal or even for a dedicating tasting session to wow your senses.
Irish craft beer and farmhouse cheeses are linked by having the very simplest of ingredients which are transformed in the hands of the brewers and the cheesemakers, and through the fermentation process, to give us products which reflect the characters of the makers, the ingredients, and the landscape. It is often said of pairing food and drinks that what grows together goes together and this is most certainly the case with our beers and cheeses here in Ireland.
Pairing Cheese and Beer:
If you’re trying a few pairings, always try and start milder or lighter and work your way up to the stronger flavours, so as not to overwhelm your palate. Whether you taste the cheese first and follow with the beer or vice versa may depend on your own allegiances, but a good idea is to try and have a taste of each separately before combining them, to see in what way the match works in changing the overall flavour profile. Make sure to take a few seconds to savour the flavours in your mouth and bring in a little air if possible.
What you serve your cheese with can also have an effect on the overall match, so think about whether your cheese should be on a light cracker, some brown bread or a wheat biscuit. Before moving on from one pairing to another it is a good idea to cleanse the palate, and a plain dry cracker or some neutral crispy bread does the job well for this.
You can buy from your preferred vendor or directly from some of the many cheese and beer producers listed here.
Cheat Sheet for the perfect matches:
- Light beers such as lagers pair best with milder and soft cheeses
- Hoppy beers such as IPAs pair best with fuller flavoured goat or sheep’s cheese, or hard cheeses
- Malty beers such as red ales pair best with fuller flavoured nutty hard cheeses
- Dark beers, stouts and porters work well with strong hard cheeses or blues
- Strong beers need very full flavoured robust cheeses
To find out more about how to match and taste every type of Irish cheese and beer, along with its all-important etiquette, download our handy guide here