We recently traveled to Plymouth, Wisconsin to learn about pairing some of America’s outstanding cheese with craft beverages at Cheese School. Plymouth has been known to be the leader in cheese distribution and trends for generations of US cheese-makers. If you love cheddar or any of the many other varieties made in Wisconsin, you need to head to Plymouth for Cheese School.
We tasted A LOT of cheese, and here is a DW&S Tip Sheet, created by Kim Chappell—DW&S Magazine Editor. Start with cheese or start with your favorite craft beverage, the tip sheet points the way to an excellent pairing.
Wine, Craft Beer, and Cider Cheese Parings
Aged or Sharp Cheddar
Beer: Amber Ale, a Brown Ale or any Oktoberfest such as
Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon or a Merlot
Cider: Dry Virginia Cider
Extra Sharp or Spicy Cheese (Habanero Jack, Peppercorn Cheddar, Horseradish Cheddar)
Beer: IPAs and Pale Ales
Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling or a White Zinfandel
Cider: A Hopped Cider
Savory Cheese (Hatch Pepper Cheddar, Garlic & Dill, Basil Cheddar, Onion, Gouda)
Beer: Pilsner and Pale Ales
Wine: Chardonnay, White Zinfandel, Merlot or a Pino Noir
Mild Cheese (Mild Cheddar, Colby, Farmers, Mozzarella)
Beer: Blond Ale, Pilsner, Hefeweizen
Wine: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Fruit Wines
Sweet Cheese (Cranberry Cheddar or any Fruit Studded Cheese)
Beer: Stouts, Porters and any beer aged in a bourbon cask
Wine: Fruit Wines, Moscato, Merlot
Cider: Sweet Virginia Cider
Stinky Cheese Including Blue Cheese
Beer: Light Beer such as Lagers and Pilsners
Heavy Beer: Aged Blue or a Gorgonzola with a Stout or Porter
Wine: A Full-Bodied Red Wine such as a Cabernet or Merlot OR a Dessert Ice Wine or Port
Cider: A Crisp Cider
Create a Cheese Board
The next step is to create a cheese board for your next Supper Party of event. Here are a few tips:
Pick a board that matches your theme or décor. The board can be slate, marble or wood. You can even find creative ideas at box stores such as Lowes or Home Depot.
You will want a variety of colors and textures. Vary the colors of your cheese selection and pick several styles of cheese. One mild, one sharp, spicy cheese and a “stinky cheese” such as blue cheese. Mix spreadable cheeses with sliced cheese to add a variety of texture.
Place the cheese on the board and then fill with a selection of charcuterie. For Fall or the holiday season, pick sausages, salami or even prosciutto. Continue to fill your board with fruit, crackers, and olives. You may even want to create nameplates for each cheese.
One last tip is to serve a variety of Virginia craft beverages and hand out this Tip Sheet to your guests.
If you are looking to find some great cheeses to complete your pairings check out Truckley Cheese Mongers in Richmond, VA.