Beer & Cheese Pairings in The Wall Street Journal

It’s always great to see beer & cheese pairing discussed in the mainstream news, as it’s certainly still an up-and-coming notion in much of the mainstream world. So I was psyched to find an article on the topic a few days ago in the Wall Street Journal, of all places.

The article, entitled “Trouble Brews for Wine; Cheese Chooses Beer” (how great is that?!), highlights the inroads made by beer at a recent event in Piedmont — a northern Italian region which shares a border with another country known for both its cheese and its wine, France — hosted by nonprofit Slow Food entitled Cheese 2009. According to the WSJ,

Alberto Farinasso, events coordinator for the fair, says Slow Food is eager to give more attention to artisanal brews, and has elevated beer’s role from bit player to supporting actor. In previous editions of the fair, beer was present, but wine was recognized as the default partner for cheese tasting.

This time, the fair’s program and the crowds around the beer stands made it clear that beer no longer plays second fiddle to wine. Of 37 “taste workshops,” six were dedicated to pairing beer with cheeses. On Monday, the last day of the fair, one section dedicated to artisanal beers had to shut down because it had run out of beer to sell.

Of course the end of the article highlights some of the wine snobbery still present in very cheese-centric parts of the world,

“Have you ever seen anyone drink beer in Bordeaux?” asks Emeric Sauty de Chalon, president of 1855, France’s largest online wine shop. Mr. Sauty de Chalon agrees that the most flavorful cheeses have a flavor that is too strong for some red wines, but doesn’t think beer and cheese is necessarily the right alternative.

“With some lower quality cheese, why not?” he says. “But with the most high-quality cheeses from Italy or from France I really would not recommend it. Try something else.”

But overall, especially for the common folk who actually eat the cheese and drink the beer, it seems like from the point of view of the Wall Street Journal, that a lot of progress is being made in convincing people that the two — beer and cheese, that is — pair much better together than beer and wine.

“A year ago, it was a new experience for everybody we presented it to,” [Justin Philips, owner of New York’s Beer Table] says. “Now just one in 10 are surprised.”

Anyway, it’s a great article from a great source and its great for beer. Certainly worth your time to read. Check it out here. Cheers.

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  1. I love beer and cheese pairings (well beer and lots of things, actually).  It’s good to see that regular folks know a good thing when they taste it. 

    Wine snobs have always looked down at beer, but I hope this changes as artisnal beers make inroads with people who enjoy authentic, well crafted spirits.  Judging by Emeric Sauty de Chalon’s quote above, it looks to be an uphill battle.  That’s alright – more for us.

  2. Nice to see a main stream faily conservative publication like the WSJ shining some light on craft beer.  I’m a firm believer, there is a beer for every food, every occasion, and every mood.  With such a vast variety of ingredients that can be used, how can it not go with everything!  🙂

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