Anyone who drinks a variety of beer styles and enjoys food has at least some experience with beer and food pairing. Next time you can afford to, try to pick a beer based on what you think might go well with that night’s meal. And (this is the fun part) think your way through the experience! As you sip and eat, think about what’s working, what’s accentuated, what gets balanced out, etc.

Anyway, I’ve been doing this more often with dinner lately, and I wanted to put together a purposeful pairing of small bites and beer tasters. I come from a family of foodies, so I decided to bring a miniature beer & food pairing on my next visit. My parameters were: I had to choose the beers and cheeses from my local shop (New Moon in Truckee), the chocolate came from the local chocolate shop, and I wanted to use one element from my garden for each round. Here’s what we tasted:

Round 1

Sourdough bread with goat cheese, lemon zest, and thyme. Paired with Prairie Artisan Ales’ ‘Merica (farmhouse ale). The tangy bread and mild funkiness of the cheese complimented the horsey/barnyardy yeast character. The fresh spritz of lemon zest accentuated the beer’s refreshing effervescence. I had tried this beer beforehand so I knew it would be perfect.

Round 2

Two layers of sheep cheese, one aged for three months, one for six, with apricot preserves and lavender. Paired with 3 Magnets Sun IPA. The creamy sharpness of the sheep cheese brings out the hop bitterness of an American IPA. The apricot and lavender act as mirrors to the tropical and floral hop notes. Honestly I would have liked to have a more tropical hop focused beer for this but the graphic got me on this more grapefruity/piney IPA.

Round 3

Extra dark chocolate truffle with chocolate mint leaf. Paired with Stillwater Artisinal’s Thsi Iiis Nlya Tst 006 (imperial stout with lactose & coffee). This round was RICH AF. I really wanted to find a roastier coffee stout with fewer flavor layers; however, the milk sugar in the beer leveled out the super dark chocolate truffle for a milder chocolate milk experience. The chocolate mint leaf was clutch as a palate rest between the creamy dessert beer and the decadent cocoa truffle.

Oh man, beer and food pairing is fun! There are infinite options! You can pair anything if you frame it right. That’s what I love about it. Beer + food allows you to take your creativity to the next level. Then the next. Then the next… Plus, it’s a great way to show off my partner’s woodworking skills 🙂 (all boards made by BRS Woodworks).

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Published by Emma Schmitz

Emma Schmitz is a content marketer & writer based in Truckee, CA. In her free time, she enjoys mountain biking, splitboarding, practicing the dark yarn arts, and nerding out about craft beer.

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