Owen Ogletree gathered local craft beer lovers Ian Meents, Dean Graves, Gail Graves, Ashton Smith, Jeff Rapp, Kim Swantek, Mark Hall, Thel Melton, Melissa Melton, Pete Dasher and Georgia's Beer Wench to sample six cheeses - each paired with two outstanding Georgia beers (with a couple of guest beers from other states thrown in for fun).
In this blind tasting, participants were told the style of each beer but not the specific brand name. Everyone made a few notes and then voted on which beer in each pair made the best accompaniment to each cheese. The results are listed here...
Gose with coriander and grapefruit peel
The mild, tart flavors worked well with the cheese. Coriander and salt complemented the cheese. Mild citrus, salt and spice.
Golden Sour Ale Blend aged in wine bbls, Amarillo dry-hops
A marvelous beer with complex, pleasant flavors. Needs a heavier cheese. The beer is a bit too acidic for the chevre, and the oak tannins seem to wipe out the chevre flavors.
Great citrus aroma and flavor with a pleasant bitter finish. The salty, sharp cheese seems to cover the elegant hop notes of the beer. Mineral notes in beer go well with mineral quality of the cheese.
American-style Double IPA
Rich malt and hops are a good match for the cheese. Biscuity notes go well. Floral, spicy hops are beautiful with the dry, spicy cheese.
British-style Strong Bitter
Gorgeous example of the classic style with delicious malt. Caramel and biscuit notes go well with the nutty cheese.
Scottish-style Wee Heavy
The rich malt and smoky notes conflict with the nuttiness of the cheese. This tasty beer needs a cheese with somewhat stronger, malt-like flavors.
Trappist-style Tripel with coriander
A fine beer with strong coriander spice in the finish. Great malt and Belgian fermentation character. Works quite well with the nutty, buttery, thick cheese.
Rye Amber Ale aged on French oak
The somewhat mild malt and rye flavors of this beer don't stand up as well to the rich cheese. Complexity of the cheese overpowers the beer a bit.
American-style IPA with passion-fruit, orange, guava
This beer's fruity quality is quite pleasant but might be too much for the cheese. The complexity seems to cover the funkiness and creaminess of the cheese.
Farmhouse saison - mixed fermentation, oak bbl-aged
Tropical fruit, beautiful acidity, quite lambic-like. A light, slightly sweet malt note balances the subtle, yet complex, acidity. It's a nice contrast to the cheese.
A delicious porter with lovely dark malt complexity. This well-made ale goes down really well. The roasted malt notes cut the complexity of the blue cheese, but the beer's flavors are a bit light to stand up to the bold stilton.
Imperial Stout - bourbon bbl-aged
The richness of this malty brew pairs well with the funky cheese. Nice vanilla barrel flavors complement the cheese. Most people thought the strength of the beer matched the cheese.