Is it OK to eat my cheese with beer? It’s OK if it’s OKA!
Jokes aside, with a growing Canadian brewing market and delicious fine cheeses that you can eat on a daily basis, the pairing of the two seems inevitable. While articles abound about all the ways to pair wine with cheese, beer and cheese pairing is still seen as an underdog despite its potential and the range of flavours it has to offer.
So how do you choose your beers according to your favourite cheeses? No need to say it out loud, we know it’s OKA cheese! No need to organize a fancy-schmancy tasting, either, to discover the secrets of a successful combination. A piece of OKA cheese along with a pint of beer for happy hour is enough to discover the magical art of this pairing.
Keep in mind that you can pair beer and cheese to emphasize the similarities of the two products or to highlight the sweet taste of chaos and contrast between the two. After all, some people like to contradict the established order of things!
Saisons, Blondes, Lagers and all that jazz
Bubbly beers like certain blonde lagers and saisons will pleasantly mix with OKA cheese or any soft cheeses made with cow’s milk. Deliciously creamy with pronounced milk and hazelnut flavours, it’s the ultimate late afternoon snack. With a piece of bread in hand, why not make it perfect with a glass of beer? Rather mild, these beers gently emphasize the aromas of the cheese. To repeat over and over again!
Semi-firm cheeses such as OKA cheese have a rather gentle but distinctive taste thanks to the washed rind adding complexity and a subtle taste of butter. Choose full-bodied beers to complement the taste of those middle ground cheeses that are neither delicate nor considered strong. Whether you’re going for Belgian tripels and their herbaceous hops, Belgian wheat beers with coriander and orange peel aromas, or refreshing Belgian saisons with their lightly spicy taste, all of them are perfect contenders to highlight the profile of OKA cheeses.
IPAs and Pale Ales
We simply love IPAs and Pale Ales, especially when they are herbaceous and their bitterness is very sharp. More fragrant than Pale Ales, IPAs and their aromatic hops will marry beautifully to the profile of the OKA cheese or Gouda. With a slight acidity and a firm texture, Gouda is a guilty pleasure for many of us! Paired with good beer, you won’t be able to do without.
English and Smoked Beers
Of course, porters, dark lagers and dark ales can be enjoyed with your OKA cheese! Did you know they could also bring out the smoky taste of a smoked Gouda? English-inspired beers have round bodies and creamy textures that complement the cheese’s firmness. To recall the smoky aromas in your cheese, choose a Rauchbier. This German-style dark beer is brewed with barley that’s dried over a fire.
Stouts and Barley Wines
Syrupy barley wines (yes, yes, it’s a beer) with a higher percentage of alcohol and stouts are ideal for OKA cheese and for cheddars with pronounced flavours and intensity. A true and accessible delight!
Don’t forget, the softer the cheese, the lighter the beer has to be. Otherwise, as we like to say: don’t be afraid to experiment! After all, pairings are ultimately a matter of taste, and above all, a wonderful opportunity to have fun and enjoy delicious cheeses.