Harvest Beer & Cheese Pairing Favorites from our Resident Cheesemonger

Today’s Harvest Month beer & food pairing comes from one of our humble barrel fellows who spends his day making sure the thousands of barrels in our warehouses stay happy and organized. Before Cesar started focusing much of his time on Bruery beer, he did a lot of homebrewing and worked at a local cheese shop.

Here around The Bruery some call me The Barrel Whisperer, but did you know when first starting at The Bruery I was also working as a cheesemonger? Let’s say I just did I did it for some extra … cheddar.

Anyways, while working the cheese shop I learned a great deal about different varieties of cheese and how I can incorporate my love of beer to every type.

Hop harvest ales have always been one of my favorite types of beers because of the complete balance of hop to beer to body. “Harvest” beers are different from your traditional hop bomb IPA’s in the sense that you taste and smell the hops more than you can feel its bittering effects.

When attempting to pair food with such an awesome, well rounded beer, you have to remember to choose foods that will not overpower the intricacies of beer. Those overpowering flavors can include (and I know it hurts) foods that are spicy, smoky, bitter, funky, or sometimes fatty. But don’t fret, there are plenty of beers out there to pair with all of those glorious flavors!

For hop harvest ales you want to try and bring the flavors more down to earth, literally. Deep green salads, beets, squash, and pumpkins all work very well with the herbal, floral notes of the beers. When trying to pair cheese with this particular type of beer you have to think along the same line of intensities — and believe me, there are a lot!

A deep, but not super sharp, Cabot cheddar from Vermont will go great with a Sierra Nevada Estate Homegrown ale. The clothbound cheddar picks up all this great earthy, mushroom flavors that blend beautifully with the fresh wet hops used in this beer.

Don’t care to pair beer with cheese? Why not pair beer with more beer (and cheese)! Try AleHouse Cheddar from Vermont Farmstead creamery which adds craft IPA and a dark Munich-style ale from Harpoon Brewery right into the curds! This cheese goes great with Port brewing company’s High Tide IPA that has more of a citrusy nose but won’t wash out the subtle but familiar bite of the hops in the cheese.

A somewhat “neutral” cheese such as fresh mozarella, fromage blanc, burrata, or young goudas can pair beautifully as well. If you don’t want to travel very far to look for an awesome hop harvest beer, come into The Bruery Tasting Room and have one of the pilot batch Humulus Wet hop beers we have on tap now!

Post written by Cesar Alfaro, one of our packaging team members turned Barrel Whisperer. Cesar is a talented homebrewer and cheesemonger who also goes to lots of epic music shows where he unleashes his glorious flowing locks of El Salvadorian hair.

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