After five and half years of teaching cheese and beverage pairing classes I've come to a startling conclusion: beer and cheese are better partners than wine and cheese.
This is counter-intuitive because the conventional wisdom holds that "what grows together goes together," and most of the world's best cheeses and wines come from France and Italy, but pairing wines and cheeses is tricky. Some white wines are so acidic that they obliterate the flavor of many cheeses. And some red wines have such subtle overtones that nearly any cheese will obscure them.
Here are three simple reasons that beers go better.
1. In general cheeses and beers speak at the same volume level on the palette.
2. Beer's carbonation makes an excellent foil for the creaminess and fat of most cheese.
3. The refreshing aspects of most beers offer a fine complement to the salt in many cheeses.
That said, you can't just pair any cheese with any beer and expect bliss. You need to consider the flavors in what you're drinking and what you're eating. Here's a primer on pairings that work.