Book Reviews: Books on Wine, Beer, and Cheese Pairings

June 25, 2010

Further readings on pairing wine, beer, and cheese:

All American Cheese and Wine Book: Pairings, Profiles, & Recipes by Laura Werlin. 2003
Werlin wrote The New American Cheese: Profiles of American’s Great Cheesemakers and Recipes for Cooking with Cheese. Her All American Cheese and Wine Book is basically the same book but with more on wine added. Werlin did extensive research on both topics, and this is a dense book with advice and recipes. After an introduction, Werlin starts talking about cheese and how it is made, how to taste cheese extensively, seven different basic styles of cheese, how to look for and buy cheese by style, and how to serve a cheese course. Next, for wines, she talks about grapes, making wine, tasting wine, types of wine, and serving wine. I’m very impressed with both sections on how much time she takes talking about the actual tastings of both cheese and wine. She then presents the ten basic guidelines of pairing cheese and wine, talks about clues for perfect pairs by cheese style, and gives a chart of cheese and wine pairings at a glance. The core of the book is cheese dish recipes by course with wine pairing, followed by a description and profile of either winery or a cheesemaker. The Appendix alone contains 60 pages, talking about cheese terms, wine terms, cheesemakers around the country, wine makers around the country, resources (information and organizations), and a bibliography.

An Appetite for Ale: Hundreds of Delicious Ways to Enjoy Beer with Food by Fiona Beckett and Will Beckett
A cookbook that either uses beer in the recipes, or has a “best beer match” to go with the recipe. It does talk about pairing, and a lot of the food seems down to earth pub fare. The chapter on cheese is weak, but does have a good page on pairings before offering only a cheese and beer fondue and a gorgonzola and pear bruschetta recipes.

The Beerbistro Cookbook by Stephen Beaumont and Brian Morin
A cookbook using beer, it has three decent pages on pairing beer and cheese, along with a large table on suggested processes for pairing the two. It has lots of recipes, including fondues, and a chapter on making ice cream with beer.

The Best of American Beer and Food: Pairing and Cooking with Craft Beer by Lucy Saunders
This book is a little bit of everything – a reader and a cook book. The first chapter is on pairing cheese and beer, and talks in great lengths about cheesemaking, planning a cheese and beer tasting, and some suggested pairings. The rest of the book goes on to talk about other pairings with beer, regional beers and their pairing trends, and lots of recipes including cheese-stuffed jumbo shrimp with bacon, using a saison-style ale.

The Cheese Companion: A Connoisseur’s Guide, by Judy Ridgway and updated by Sara Hill
This is a cheese identification book that talks only very briefly about pairing cheese with wine. However, for each cheese variety listed, it provides a recommended wine pairing. For example, it suggests pairing Chèvre to with a Sauvignon Blanc wine.

Cheese and Wine: A Guide to Selecting, Pairing, and Enjoying by Janet Fletcher. 2007
This book goes though and briefly suggests strategies for pairing wine and cheese based on texture, intensity, acidity, sweetness, mold, and region. It then tells you how to plan a cheese course, and then how to handle and store cheese. The heart of the book is pages talking about a specific cheese style, including milk type, region, and a lengthy description. At the very end is a sentence or two about what wines would work with that cheese, so this book is about eating cheese, and the wines to enhance that experience. The appendix has two pages showing a table of wines with what cheeses to pair them to, so it is kind of a quick summary. However, there is no index to allow for the quick look up of a particular kind of cheese or wine.

He Said Beer, She Said Wine by Same Calagione and Marnie Old. 2009
This beer vs wine food pairing book does talk about how to choose wine and beer to go with cheese. Honestly, the cheeses they picked for their battles would make a very good cheese platter in my opinion, and are easy to acquire.
Mozzarella: light-bodied sparkling wine, unwooded chardonnay, Belgian White Beer, or Hefeweizen
Goat cheese: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Nior Rosé, slightly sweet hefeweizen, or a pilsner.
Brie: Pinot Gris, French Champagne, kriek limbic, or Berliner Weisse
Sharp aged cheddar: fortified Madeira, Cabernet Sauvignon, IPA, or English Brown Ale.
Parmigiano Reggiano: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, amber, or IPA.
Roquefort: Amarone, Sautenes, British Strong Ale, or Russian Imperial Stout

Laura Werlin’s Cheese Essentials: An Insider’s Guide to Buying and Serving Cheese {with 50 Recipes} by Laura Werlin. 2007
In each cheese style chapter in this book there is a small section on which kinds of wines to serve with that style and how easy it is to pair with that style. Fresh cheeses are difficult to pair, going with light white wines. Semi-soft cheese paired with fruity unoaked white wines a light red, or a light beer such as a lager. Soft-ripened cheeses, with the rinds removed, go well with sparkling wines, unoaked Chardonnay, or an earthy Pinot Nior. Surface-ripened cheeses are paired with white wines or low tannin red wines. Next, for the easiest pairing semi-hard cheeses, serve them with just about any wine. For hard cheeses, look for white wines or low tannin red wines, or even a sherry. Blue cheeses are paired with port, sweet white wines, and sparkling dry white wines.  Last of all, for washed-rind cheese, Werlin pairs them with floral white wines, lighter fruitier red wines, and sweet wines. Otherwise, see Werlin’s other book, All American Cheese and Wine Book: Pairings, Profiles, & Recipes for more in-depth coverage of this topic.

Matching Food and Wine: Classic and Not So Classic Combinations by Michel Roux Jr.
A cook book which briefly talks about wines and suggests three wines to pair with that recipe. I mention this book because it has a few recipes with cheese, which he then recommends wines with.

Mastering Cheese: Lessons for Connoisseurship from a Maître Fromager by Max McCalman and David Gibbons. 2009
Another dense book about understanding cheese, how to become a connoisseur, and talking about great artisan cheeses of the world. This book contains a chapter each on pairing cheese with wine and beer. After talking about wine in general, the book talks about complexity, sensory profiling, balance and harmony, and the finish. They offer good advice on serving the pairings, such as paying attention to serving temperatures, smell, taste, waiting for the finish, refresh your palate with water and bread, follow an order, and reflect on the pairings. They then offer suggested tasting plates of a few cheeses paired with flights of wines, along with a recommended method of scoring the pairs. Next, they talk about some general cheese-friendly wines, and what it takes to be cheese friendly. The beer chapter, although smaller, follows along the same lines, starting with talking about beer, pairing principles and guidelines, cheese friendly brews, and a suggested testing of six cheeses and three beers.

The New American Cheese: Profiles of America’s Greatest Cheesemakers and Recipes for Cooking with Cheese by Laura Werlin. 2000
More of an all around cheese book, it does have a small section on pairing cheese and wine, with an afterthought of pairing cheese with other beverages. Werlin expanded on this section with her later books.

The Cheese Plate by Max McCalman and David Gibbons. 2002
And older McCalman and Gibbons book dedicated strictly to consuming cheese, it dedicates chapter 6 to pairing cheese with food, including beverages. Again, it talks about cheese-friendly wines and wine driven plates. It briefly mentions, “Apple cider – not just the hard kind – as well as grape and berry juices are good [cheese pairing] possibilities. Coffee pairs well with many cheeses. But tea does not. Also, avoid orange and other citrus juices. In fact, I’m quite wary of even the lemon or lime wedge that goes with your sparkling water; it could easily interfere with a good cheese.” Their newer book expanded to talk about beer, which is not in this book.


  • The Wisconsin Milk Marking Board has a nifty website showing what cheeses go well with what wine, food, spirits, and beers.
  • Cheese Cupid has an interactive website, where you pick your cheese, and it gives suggested beverages, or you pick your beverage and it suggests cheeses. It includes beer, cider in general, and some spirits.

8 Responses to “Book Reviews: Books on Wine, Beer, and Cheese Pairings”

  1. Ajburnetti Says:

    This is good blog message, I will keep this in mind. If you add more video and pictures because it helps understanding 🙂

  2. […] June 3, 2011 There has been a boom in food blogs and books, as is evident with five new cheese books published in the last two years and available at my public library. I also blogged about six books last year and highlighted a few on pairing cheese with wine or beer. […]

  3. […] 9 is about pairing cheese with wine, cheese with beer, making a cheese board, fondue, and cooking with […]

  4. […] maybe it is an acquired taste. I did see the potential, but it doesn’t seem quite as natural as pairing cheese with wine. I mean wouldn’t it be more part of our culture if it was a natural […]

  5. […] Books Reviews: Books on Wine, Beer and Cheese Pairings […]

  6. […] Books Reviews: Books on Wine, Beer and Cheese Pairings […]

  7. […] Further Readings: Other books by Janet Fletcher […]

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