Beer, Cider & Cheese Pairings
Cabot joins with some of its favorite breweries for dynamic, delicious pairings of Craft Beer, Hard Cider and Cabot Cheddar.
It’s hard to imagine a more appetizing combination that a cold brew paired with the tasty tang of sharp cheddar cheese. Whether you’re rewarding yourself after a long, hard day at work or gathering to celebrate with friends, your favorite beverage and cheese make a perfect pair – and a great way to unwind.
While there are a few simple guidelines you can follow when pairing beer and cheddar, keep in mind there are no hard and fast rules. Let your taste buds be your guide when choosing your favorite beer and cheese pairings.
Here are our suggestions for guiding you on a perfect beer and cheese pairing adventure:
- Chill out: Let both your beer/cider and your cheese rest out of the refrigerator for an hour before serving so the full-bodied taste of both can develop.
- Don’t overwhelm: When pairing different ciders or beers with cheese, less is often more. Offer only a few choices of both, to get the full enjoyment from the tasting.
- Light to heavy: When you’re pairing, serve lighter cheeses and beers or ciders with a lower alcohol content before moving on to heavier tastes and higher alcohol content brews.
- Keep it simple: If you’re going to serve cheese on a cracker or bread, make sure you use something with a neutral taste like a water cracker or a baguette. Flavored crackers or breads can overwhelm the true flavors of your beer and cheese pairings.
- Be adventurous: Remember, there is no right or wrong when it comes to pairing beer or cider with cheese. The best possible pairing is one that you love.
Did you know? Local cattle farmers use the spent grain generated from the beer brewing process to feed their cows. The mash is inexpensive compared to the soybean or corn feed that’s available, and it’s better for the cows. Over seven dry weight tons of used grains (aka ‘spent mash’) are offered to local dairy farms as a valuable food source for dairy cows. This completes a renewable energy loop where Vermont cows feed on spent mash from the brewery while the brewery purchases renewable Cow Power™ energy produced by Vermont cows.
Here are just a few of our very favorite beer and cheese pairings as well as a hard cider & cheese pairing:
Saranac, a time-honored family brewery, whose name in the Iroquois language means “cluster of stars,” produces its world-class Legacy IPA with a century-old recipe from their founder. This brew is full flavored and hop forward with a taste that honors the past but is bold enough for the present.
Cabot has paired Saranac Legacy IPA with our own Legacy New York Vintage Cheddar that possesses a taste as big and bold as its New York origins. It boasts a classic cheddar flavor with a distinct sharpness and a crumbly texture for fresh-from-the-farm taste.
Harpoon, with breweries in Boston and Windsor, Vermont, was started in 1986 by three friends – Dan Kenary, Rich Doyle, and George Ligeti, in order to bring the fine European traditions of craft brewing to the U.S. We love their popular Take-5 Session IPA with its vibrant citrus and pine hop aromatics and distinct malt profile.
Take-5 is a perfect foil for Cabot Habanero Cheddar. The IPA’s citrus notes play nicely off the heat of Cabot’s most intense flavored cheddar. Together they’re a match that makes us swoon!
New Belgium is a 24 year old, employee-owned brewery that started in Ft. Collins, CO and recently expanded to Asheville, NC. The brewery proudly maintains its B-Corp status, which means that it has pledged to maintain rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
New Belgium calls their Fat Tire Amber Ale “the beer that started it all.” We paired Fat Tire with Cabot’s Legacy Collection Alpine Cheddar. Fat Tire won fans with its sense of balance: toasty, biscuit-like malt flavors coasting in equilibrium with hoppy freshness. Cabot’s Alpine Cheddar also has a huge fan following. They love its creamy, subtle Swiss and Italian Alpine taste with a slight “grana” texture similar to Parmesan. These two classic tastes were made to be enjoyed together.
Long Trail Brewery was inspired by the 273-mile hiking trail that traverses through the Green Mountains of Vermont. In 1898, moved by the unique local culture and breathtaking surroundings of the Green Mountain state, the brewers started creating beer that was worthy of their Vermont roots. To this day, they are committed to crafting a trail-worthy family of beers. This is a classic Vermont Beer!
Long Trail’s German-style Cranberry Gose is brewed with cranberries from Massachusetts, coriander, and a splash of salt. The result is a refreshingly tart, effervescent concoction built to fuel your warm weather-inspired wanderlust. We’ve paired it with Cabot’s Legacy Collection White Oak Cheddar that combines subtle caramel sweetness with delicate hints of the duskiness of wine aging casks. White Oak is traditional in the style of classic British cheddars, honoring balance, sharpness, and a smooth milky texture. This pairing shows how well these new takes on old favorites go together.
The Magic Hat Brewery has been putting a performance into every bottle of beer since 1994. Based in South Burlington, Vermont, Magic Hat’s Brewery and Artifactory is a place where craft beer lovers can drop in to sample an extensive selection of beers, take brewery tours and to get down at a number of outdoor events throughout the year.
#9 Not Quite Pale Ale® is an beer whose mysterious and unusual palate will swirl across your tongue and ask more questions than it answers. It’s brewed clandestinely and given a name whose meaning is never revealed. We paired Magic Hat’s enigmatic brew with a true Cabot classic, Vermont Sharp Cheddar. Its straightforward, slightly acidic taste and creamy texture with nuances of sweetness and a rich, buttery tang answers all the cheesy questions you can think of. In this case, these opposites have an extraordinary attraction, don’t you agree?
And finally, for those of you who like the effervescence of beer, but prefer the taste of a hard cider, we bring you Woodchuck Amber. The birthplace of this tasty concoction was Proctorsville, Vermont, along the Black River in a two-car garage. Wine maker Greg Failing began his company as an experiment with Vermont apples. Woodchuck Amber was the result and the company would go on to reinvent a centuries-old beverage that had vanished from the American consciousness in the wake of Prohibition.
We chose the original Woodchuck Amber for our cider and cheese pairing. Amber is a traditional cider boasting big red apple taste. This expertly crafted hard cider beverage has a medium body, golden hue, and refreshing clean apple finish. We paired it with a Cabot favorite, the ever-popular Cabot Pepper Jack. It’s a cheese that is the ultimate balance of spice and creamy Monterey Jack. It’s moderately hot, supremely smooth, and utterly delicious, just right for a pairing with the slightly sweet Woodchuck Amber.