How to Host a Beer & Cheese Tasting at Your Tailgate

beer-and-cheese-tasting

Want to host a tasting party at your tailgate? Just think of all the details you’ve already got covered.

  • Guest list? Check.
  • Supplies? Got it.
  • Food and drinks? Done. Kind of.

While there’s nothing wrong with the usual burgers and BBQ (trust me, I eat plenty of both), try sprucing up your tailgate by offering a beer and cheese tasting table for your guests.

Here’s how to pull it off.

1.  Choose your beer and cheese

Beer and cheese, like any food and drink, have personalities. Lagers, for instance, are easy to drink. They’re the life of the party — a carefree, popular beer type. Stouts and porters, on the other hand, tend to pack a punch. They’re loud and bold — not a beer style everyone prefers.

Cheese, similarly, can be mild and unoffensive, like brie or mozzarella. But cheeses such as a pungent Roquefort or a heady Stilton have a funky personality. Those are the types of cheeses that’ll either help you make friends or find new enemies, depending on your crowd.  

When it comes to selecting your beer and cheese pairings, there’s really one simple principle to follow: match the intensity of the beer with the intensity of the cheese. Most experts recommend starting your tasting with the mildest cheese and beer first. Then as your cheese becomes increasingly more flavorful, match it with an equally flavorful beer.

Tip: Check out Serious Eat’s cheat sheet for beer and cheese pairing ideas.

 

2.  Create a tasting card

This is where the fun starts. You’ll share plenty of laughs when you and your guests start comparing tasting notes. Don’t worry about crafting the perfect description. Just make a straightforward card that asks guests to make note of the beer and cheese’s appearance, aroma, flavor, and texture. I also like adding a “did you like it” section on my tasting cards, too.

 

Tip: Guests will feel less shy about describing aromas and flavors if you provide them with a good list of adjectives. I recommend About Cheese.com’s suggestions.

 

3.  Prepare your table

First, please don’t let your cheese plate melt in the sun. Keep your cheese intact and your beer cold with these simple tricks:

pool-raft

Use Balancing Beauty and Bedlam’s creative idea: a baby pool raft and fill it with ice.

baby-pool

Planning on a big tailgate party? Ice down your beers with this clever tip from The Homestead Survival: fill baby pools with ice.

Next, organize your cheeses. Allocate around 1 ounce of cheese per guest. Slice your cheeses and add labels like this to minimize confusion:

cheeseboard-tags

I love these cheese labels from The Pretty Blog.com. Don’t you?

Now for the beer. Since this is a tasting with several types of beer, reserve 3 ounces of beer per guest. Serve in small plastic cups.

Lastly, provide guests with tasting cards and pens. Your tasting cards should include the order in which guests should pair the beer and cheese.  

 

Wait! There’s more.

 

Would you like a sample menu? I’ve put together a list of cheese and beer pairings that work well together and are a breeze to find at your local grocery store and liquor shop.

beer-and-cheese-tasting-menu-1

 

THE MILD

  • Marshall Old Pavilion Pilsner + Triple creme brie
  • Shiner White Wing Belgian White + Mozzarella

THE MID-RANGE

  • Prairie Artisan Ales Birra Farmhouse Ale + Manchego
  • Hoegaarden White Ale + Valbreso feta (sheep’s milk) — though feta made with goat’s milk would pair well, too

THE FUNKY

  • Spaten Oktoberfest + Roquefort (this beer isn’t the funkiest of beers, but sometimes it’s interesting to see what happens with a pairing)
  • Founders Porter + White Stilton with blueberries (also try pairing a good chocolate Stout with Stilton cheese)

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