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Posted on Tue, Dec 13, 2011 : 8:50 p.m.

Bleu cheese throwdown: IPA vs. Stout

By Patti Smith

I attended a very fun birthday party this past weekend. Because the host and hostess are awesome, they had two kegs of beer on tap: Dark Horse's Indian Pale Ale, Crooked Tree IPA, and Saugatuck's Neapolitan Stout. Both beers are fantastic; I have had Crooked Tree a bunch of times, but the stout was new to me. I might have drunk a few of those.

At some point, my friends and I started consuming rather large quantities of bleu cheese. As my friend pointed out, "Bleu cheese takes like blue" and in fact, it do! (It rhymes; sue me). So the question became, "Which beer pairs best with this cheese?"

The IPA definitely had an edge. The sharp, bitter hoppiness complimented the "blue" tangy taste of bleu cheese. Crooked Tree is crisp and has, to me anyway, a nice dry finish. This finish seemed to go well with the moist texture of the "blue" tasting cheese.

My friends kind of dismissed the stout out of hand, but I think there is something to be said for it. As the name implies, it has chocolate, vanilla beans and strawberries like its namesake ice cream. Because it is a milk stout, it is creamier than many other stouts, and not as dry. I found this creaminess to be a nice compliment to the bleu cheese. It might have been a touch too much dairy for some, but I liked the sharp cheese and smooth beer combination.

Have you tried these beers with cheese? Am I off my rocker? What are some other good beers to pair with bleu cheese?

Patti Smith is a special education teacher who lives in Ann Arbor and blogs at She is thankful every day that she is not lactose intolerant.


Sarah Rigg

Wed, Dec 14, 2011 : 12:48 p.m.

I don't know about pairing BEER with blue cheese, but sweet white wines work well at wine & cheese parties. So maybe sweeter beers - like honey beers - would be a good match.

Patti Smith

Thu, Dec 15, 2011 : 2:44 a.m.

Yum! That sounds excellent :)