Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Monday, November 23

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Gourmet Raves for Urban Belly Closing Time »

Chicago Gourmet Tue Sep 30 2008

Pairing Fine Cheese With Craft Beer


How many of you have hosted a wine and cheese party? How about a beer and cheese party? If it were up to Greg Hall, the latter would be a lot more common. As the brewmaster for the Goose Island Brewing Company, there is little doubt that Hall knows his beer, but he has also been involved with the American Cheese Society. The Chicago Gourmet seminar Hall hosted offered four Goose Island beers paired with three cheeses and one chocolate:

  • Harvest Ale and Uplands Pleasant Ridge Reserve: This ESB style beer pairs well with firm cheeses like the Pleasant Ridge Reserve or Jasper Hill Bandaged Wrapped Cheddar.
  • Matilda and Chimay cheese: this Belgian style beer works well with washed rind cheeses like the Chimay or Meadow Creek Farm Grayson.
  • India Pale Ale and Jasper Hill Bayley Hazen Blue: IPAs can be a hard style for food pairings because it has such an assertive flavor. The saltiness of blue cheese balances out the hoppy, bitterness of the IPA to highlight smooth, complimentary flavors.
  • Pere Jacques and Scharffen Berger 60%: The caramel flavors in this Belgian style beer pulls out the sweetness of dark chocolate.

cgcheese.jpg(Mindy Segal and Greg Hall)

Additional guidelines for pairing beers and cheeses:

  • Beer is great for cheese because of three things: Alcohol, CO2, and bitterness. These qualities balance the heaviness of cheese and help to cleanse the palate.
  • Balance the heaviness of the beer to the heaviness of the cheese.

  • Regional pairings often work well.

  • For a light cheese, like a chèvre, a wheat or a pilsner is probably the best choice.
  • Malty beers are best paired with hard cheese
  • Gruyère works well with brown ales, drawing the nuttiness out of both.
  • Oatmeal Stouts work well with Stilton or a Roaring Forties blue cheese.
  • Lambics and salty cheeses, like a Manchego, work well together. The two acids balance each other out. Fruit flavored lambics are very difficult to pair.

Hall's conversational manner of speaking and engaging anecdotes made for an excellent seminar. The basic piece of advice that he wanted us to leave with was this: It is hard to go wrong when you plan a tasting around a few different styles of beer and a few different types of cheese. Simply buy what looks interesting and invite a few friends over.
GB store

Toni / September 30, 2008 4:05 PM

Looked like a good seminar. I'd be interested to hear what you thought of the event in general. We didn't think there was enough food available to keep everyone from getting drunk. We tried to behave ourselves but there were so many interesting wines to taste. We waited in lines for the chef's tasting and the few other meager crumbs that were available. We would have even PAID for food if there were vendors. The Grand Cru event offered nothing more than toasts and a small cheese plate for at least a hundred people. However we did enjoy meeting some chefs, talking and sampling wine, and the few morsels we did consume, especially Stephanie Izard's offering of a duck confit salad.

Mandy / October 1, 2008 4:00 PM

That Pleasant Ridge Reserve cheese was a-maz-ing!

GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

GB store



Drive-Thru on Flickr

Join the Drive-Thru Flickr Pool.

About Drive-Thru

Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Robyn Nisi,
Drive-Thru staff inbox:



 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15