I’ve been wanting to create an epic cheese + beer pairing spread for quite some time. When Isigny Sainte-Mère reached out offering to send me some of their famous Mimolette cheese, I jumped on the chance. This cheese comes from a historic part of Normandy, France—where dairy production has been part of their identity for over 100 years.
Isigny Sainte-Mère has been passionately committed to the ancient craft of cheese, cream and butter making and the traditions of sustainable agriculture. They tend the land, they craft their products and as a cooperative, they share their successes. This is where rich grass grows, and the cows are given room to roam. Here, the freshest milk is transformed, within a few hours and miles of the pasture, into food of real integrity.
As an avid cheese enthusiast myself, I love the fact that so much attention is paid to the sourcing of ingredients & care taken in its making. Isigny Sainte-Mère sent me a variety of aged Mimolette—3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months. These cheeses get turned every two days in a ripening cave on wooden boards. The aging process changes the flavor and texture greatly.
So, onto the beer pairings…
I wanted a nice variety of beer styles to be able to mix & match while tasting the aged Mimolette—this way you can create your ideal pairing. Everyone has such different tastes, I truly believe there is no wrong pairing…if it tastes good to you that’s all that matters. That being said, it’s still good to choose beers that will best compliment the flavors of the cheese.
This is my own home brew that is a little more hop-forward than the typical Hefeweizen. I added extra hops at the beginning of the boil which surprisingly turned out better than I expected. This wheat beer is a great type to start out the pairing with.
Here is another home brew of mine. A little nutty, smooth body, low to medium hop flavor and some caramel notes. Still, not too heavy, a nice mild brown ale.
This Amber Ale is malt forward with sweet caramel notes. Vienna and Munich malts add nice bready undertones to compliment the sweetness. Whittaker Straße from Beer Church Brewing.
This Little Piglet Session IPA from New Holland Brewing is lighter and easy to drink, but definitely not short on flavor. A perfect beer to transition into some heavier styles during the pairings.
This Bad Elmer’s Porter from Upland Brewing ended up a bit too heavy for my taste with its coffee & chocolate notes. But perhaps for others it might add a nice dessert-type flavor to end the pairing. It’s rich, creamy, and characteristically dark yet extremely smooth. The initial light sweetness is followed by a clean, dry, roasty finish.
The cheeses were absolutely amazing. You can truly taste the exquisiteness of high quality dairy and the cave-aged ripening process. They all have a beautiful distinctive orange hue.
Starting with the 3 months aged, the cheese texture is smooth & hard but easy to slice into wedges. This young Mimolette has a great nutty and mildly sharp flavor. It paired very well with my Hefeweizen. The 6 months aged was similar but with a more developed sharp flavor.
Moving on to the 12, 18, and 24 months aged, you start to get a harder texture that can be crumbled into smaller bits with a slightly crystalized texture. Packed full of flavor—salty & sharp—these paired very well with all the beer styles.
If you’re going to put together your own cheese + beer pairings, I’d recommend to pick a few of the styles I mentioned above but experiment with additional flavors. As I said, I don’t think there’s any wrong pairings, it’s just whatever you enjoy, so have fun with it!