Live The Dream

Host a Summer Beer and Cheese Party

As the days get longer, you might feel inspired to throw a party or two this summer. This year, host a summer beer and cheese pairing party. It’s a great way to celebrate the warm weather, dear friends and some local Jersey City goods. A perfect place to start with ideas is the local beer and cheese pairing event at Liberty Harbor on Wednesday June 27.

Local Jersey City Fare

When you host a gathering, consider your choices of where to shop for food and drink. Supporting local businesses and agriculture is a great way to invest in your area. For example, shopping at your nearby farmer’s market is good for supporting the local economy, plus you get ripe and seasonal food. Shopping at family and locally-owned establishments in your area helps keep your neighborhoods thriving. While you prepare for your summer beer and cheese party, check out these local Jersey City staples:

Local Cheese - Van Hook Cheese is located in downtown Jersey City and has a terrific variety for your cocktail or beer parties. Or skip the party and just shop for cheese for yourself! This family-owned business offers platters if you’re short on time.

A Brewery with Class - Departed Soles Brewery brews right in the heart of downtown Jersey City. Not only do they have arguably the best craft beer in New Jersey, but selections made with 100% gluten-free ingredients. Something for everyone.

Summer Beer HQ - For all your summer parties, make sure to stop at Jersey Wine and Spirits on Jersey Avenue. They have the biggest selection of all your favorite beers, liquors and mixers. Plus, they deliver locally and what could be better than that?

Pairing Flavors with Friends

One of the best ways to go about a pairing party is to ask for a little help from your friends. If you supply a variety of cheeses, your guests can bring a certain beer. Try assigning them each a category, then they can choose 2-3 beer styles to bring from within that range.

  • Ales - Fuller-bodied with pleasantly hoppy finishes. Styles included are Pale Ales, Nut Browns and Abbey Ales. IPA or India Pale Ales generally have a dominant hoppy character and pair well with beer cheeses.
  • Sour Ales - Be brave: Go for something super sour and pair it with tangy cheeses like bleu or goat.
  • Wheat beer - Choose from witbier, hefeweizen or dunkelweizen and pair easily with fresh light cheeses.
  • Lagers - These beers are crisp and refreshing, perfect for summer. Lagers range from sweet to bitter and pale to black and pair well with soft cheeses.
  • Stouts and Porters - Both almost black in color made by top fermentation. Stouts usually have a creamy head and are less sweet than porters.
  • Malts - These are usually dark and sweeter, containing hints of toffee or nuts. Pair with hard, Alpine-style cheeses like Emmantaler.

Choosing Cheeses

When you visit the cheese shop, ask for recommendations. It’s good to have a plan before you begin shopping, so know your major cheese categories. Putting together a charcuterie board is an easy way to display all the food for your gathering. As for the beer, it’s best to go from lightest to darkest whenever doing a tasting. Most connoisseurs stick to about 3 oz. of beer per taste. Of course rules are meant to be broken, so the most important thing is to have fun.