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Fall seasonal beers and cheese

Fall seasonal beers and fine cheeses can provide perfect pairing harmony. They naturally go together –in part because both are parfumé-complete and made with special recipes and traditional methods. Since many beer lovers consider fall the best time of the year for seasonal brews, now is the perfect time to savor a glass of richly flavored fall beer and a tasty selection of cheeses. Beer and cheese often have similar fragrance and flavors but perhaps the main reason the two are so delicious together is that the carbonation in beer contrasts with the creamy texture of cheese. A sip of brew will cleanse the palate in a way that perfectly sets the stage for the nuances of flavor in each bit of cheese. Choose a fall seasonal or two and raise your bottle to say A votre santé – French for “cheers” - before savoring an invigorating fall seasonal beer and cheese pairing!

The basics
Three major types of seasonal beer are released in the fall; Pumpkin beers, fresh hop pale ales and, the most popular and well-known, Märzen style lagers – known as Oktoberfests.
Many types of cheeses pair excellently with all three styles. Bold, rich flavors and dark colorings are the most notable features of fall beers and the brews pack a strong bite of carbonation that goes well with French fromage.

The pairings:
Pumpkin beer – Nothing says fall quite like a pumpkin. The sweet, creamy flavor and rich orange color make an attractive addition to beer. Seasonal pumpkin brews are made with real pumpkins and brewer-specific seasoning mixes that produce deep, slightly sweet flavors and dark orange coloration.

Ile de France recommends:
Wild Goose Pumpkin Patch Ale. The rich malt flavors and subdued spice levels make this beer delicious and bold. Try it with a bleu cheese, such as Roquefort or Bleu d’Auvergne – the saltiness of the cheese is an excellent contrast to the sweet notes of the pumpkin brew.

Fresh hops ales
– A richly-flavored, strong beer makes an ideal companion when the weather gets crisp and a beer brewed with fresh hops won’t disappoint. Fresh hop ales are made using hops that aren’t given time to dry before being added to the brew kettle – that means deeply rich flavors and dark, golden colors.

Ile de France recommends:
Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale. One of the first fresh hop pale ales to gain popularity, the Harvest Ale remains an excellent example of the brew style’s ultra flavorful profile. Try it with a creamy cheese like Ile de France brie - it will be obvious why beer and cheese lovers relish fall’s hearty beer selections. St. Albray and Ile de France Camembert are excellent choices as well, since their creamy textures will match up perfectly with the beer’s intense flavor.

– The strong beers known as Oktoberfests have been warming beer lovers hearts this time of year since long before refrigeration, so don’t be afraid to try one at or near room temperature. A full-bodied, copper-colored brew, Oktoberfest beers have a flavor that is rich and includes an aftertaste that is greatly enhanced with a bit of fromage.

Ile de France recommends:
Oktoberfest beers are readily available and can be served with nearly any fine French cheese. Creamy cheese such as Ile de France brie and camemebert, as well as hard cheeses like Morbier and Doux de Montagne are excellent choices to pair with Oktoberfest beer.

• Harpoon Octoberfest: Toasted malt flavors and a darkly fruity aroma give way to a rich, complex flavor in this brew.

• Samuel Adams Oktoberfest: A classic example of the style, Sam Adams Oktoberfest is available nearly everywhere and packs a rich and malty aroma. A bit of sweetness accompanies the malt flavors and the brew has a balanced finish.

• Magic Hat Hex: A malty aroma with a hint of butter, the Magic Hat has a flavor that’s rich and a bit smokey.