St. Mang Bavarian Limburger and Beer Pairing

Limburger and Beer Pairing

Pairing a beer and a cheese takes some experimentation, but lucky for you there are myriad possibilities. With over 2400 craft beer breweries in the United States alone, you are bound to find at least one combination to suit your tastes. So pick up your favorite Champignon cheese, a case of mixed beers, and a six pack of friends for an epicurean scientific investigation.

In this experiment, St. Mang Bavarian Limburger is paired with four delicious beers. Because Limburger’s washed rind has such a bold aroma, I selected equally robust beers that I thought could stand up to this unique cheese. The results are in:

Brooklyn Local 1 (New York)
With or without a cheese pairing, Brooklyn Local 1 is one of my favorite beers. This strong pale ale is complex with an initial sharpness that turns from sweet to spicy. In this pairing, Local 1’s yeasty aroma tempers the Limburger’s and brings forward its earthy flavors. Then the beer’s prickly carbonation sweeps across the palate for a warm and fuzzy finish.

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock (Germany)
Holy smokes! The first thing you will detect when you pour this beer, aside from its alluring opaque color, is its fantastic smoky scent. I chose this beer to pair with Limburger in a kind of heavyweight championship of flavors. And true to their reputations, both held their own.
At first taste, the two threw their punches: bacony and woodsy from the Urbock against meaty and mushroomy Limburger. But the two came together as peaceably as campers around a fire, ending with autumnal notes of earthy dried leaves, a bitter bite, and a waft of smoldering embers.

Rodenbach Grand Cru (Belgium)
After tasting the Urbock, I was sure the Bavarian Limburger would find another worthy match. But sadly I was underwhelmed. And worse yet, the flavors of both beer and cheese fell flat when matched with an equally potent opponent. I imagined that the wonderful fizziness of the Rodenbach would have mingled well with the cheese, but it washed right over the cheese, leaving a residue of cream on the palate. The ale’s sour cherry flavors also left a strongly vinegary aftertaste. Quite unpleasant together.

Chimay Blue Grand Reserve (Belgium)
Chimay Blue’s sweetness and fruitiness are an excellent counterpoint to Limburger. Similar to Brooklyn Local 1, this beer has a prickly fizziness and high alcohol content (9%), both of which perfectly “scrub” the palate, cutting through the creaminess of the cheese and allowing the flavors to partner up. Breathe in as you taste this pairing and you’ll notice the flavors combine and change together—from pungent, earthy and fruity to a final smooth, creamy caramel. This one is a winner in my book.

Chimay Blue Grand Reserve