Below you will find some basic beer and cheese pairing suggestions to get you started ASAP. But remember, this is only a starting point! Use the guide below to help you get started and picking your own "house pairing"
Light/Delicate Intensity Beers and Cheese Pairing Suggestions:
These beers will naturally pair well with young fresh cheeses as their light flavors won't mask any of the cheese flavors. Also, their floral, fruity and sometimes spicy hop flavors will add a wonderful counterpoint to the milky flavors in these cheeses.
Medium Intensity Beers and Cheese Pairing Suggestions:
Medium: Maibock, ESB, 80 Shilling, Irish Red, American Pale Ale, American Amber Ale, American Brown Ale, Brown, Belgian Blond Ale,
These beers will pair well with nutty or aged cheeses because their base grains were kilned just enough to add a slight nutty flavor to the beers. These nutty flavors create a cohesive base flavor that melds the two together. The hops (floral and spicy) and fruity esters then add wonderful counterpoints the cheese.
High Intensity Beers and Cheese Pairing Suggestions:
High Intensity beer samples: Eisbock, Baltic Porter, American Stout, Russian Imperial Stout, Imperial IPA, Berliner Weisse, Flanders Red/Brown Ale, Lambic, Gueuze, Belgian Golden Strong Ale, Belgian Dark Strong Ale, American Barleywine, Smoked Beers, Wood/Barrel Aged Beers.
I love subtle pairings. Picking out the almost hidden flavors and discovering new flavor combinations that are seamless is so much fun. But... pairing high intensity beers and cheeses is where beer and cheese pairings start to EXPLODE! In a delicious way, of course! However, any two beers in either of these two groups can vary widely in intensity and flavor so here are three things to keep in mind.
1. Highly hopped beers (IPA's and Barleywines (young)) pair well with sharp/tart cheeses like cheddars or pepper jacks.
2. Malty beers (Strong Dark Belgians and Dopple bocks) pair well with pungent bleu cheeses.
3. Sour beers pair well with cheeses that have funky rinds. The funk in the beer and funk in the rind create a cohesive base layer while the intense cheese flavors and the intense beer flavors meet head-on and balance each other.