Wine and cheese parties are one way to show off the eclectic tastes of you and your BFF’s, but sometimes it’s fun to switch things up.
Why not swap the Merlot and Chardonnay in favor of something a little more sudsy by throwing a BYOB (Bring Your Own Beer) Cheese tasting party featuring imported cheeses from around the world? And because the heady carbonation in beer is the perfect palate cleanser for even the strongest cheeses, it’s a winning combo for your guests.
Play up the international theme of the soirée with invitations that look like passports. Get really crafty by including photos and details of the gathering. Ask each guest to bring their favorite craft beer – at least one bottle for each person attending.
Purchase the Cheese
Imported cheeses are as diverse as the countries they come from, so buy five or six different cheeses from a variety of countries (see our cheeseboard recommendation) — one or two ounces of each for every guest should do— along with the perfect accompaniments for each. Think about some of these pairings;
- Brie with fresh berries and walnuts
- Aged Gouda with dried sausage and cashews
- Gorgonzola Dolce with crostini
- Wensleydale with peaches
- Comté cheese with dried fruit
The Party Set-Up
Ideally, you should have the cheese plates arranged on the table with plenty of fruits, nuts, fresh cut veggies, breads, crackers. Let the cheese sit out at least 30 minutes before your guests arrive, along with plates and small glasses for the beer tasting. Identify the cheeses by type and origin by placing simple craft cards next to each cheese. Pour the beer as a “flight” so everyone can taste and sip at the same time.
Place cheese knives by each cheese to discourage mixing each cheese’s taste.
No silverware is needed, either! Let your guests cut, slice and pick at the platters as they like, but provide a cheese knife for any spreadable cheeses, along with plenty of water, bread and crackers around the table so guests can “reset” their palates between bites of cheese.
The beer and the cheese are the real entertainment for the night — no games necessary! The combination of the cheese and beer will definitely spark a lively conversation (and possibly a serious debate!) over which cheese pairs the best with each craft beer. You’ll definitely know your friends a little better afterward!