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Party season might make you think of cheese and wine, but beer lovers Gina and Eddie at Peterborough’s bottle shop, Bottle & Board, believe it’s time to consider a change. They know a thing or two about how to pair your ales with your food. The shop is packed with winter brews to buy, as well as Christmas gift packs, so we asked Gina for her guide to the perfect sharing platter for your Christmas feast….

Some might ask: why beer and cheese in the first place? It’s true that wine is the established pairing partner of cheese, whether in a formal restaurant setting or at a relaxed dinner party. We’re taught that the two are an excellent match. But is that really the case?

Beer has greater depth and range than wine, for example there is a wider range of strength in beers from 0.5% to 15% and sometimes higher. Plus there are a wider range of various beer styles giving a greater breadth and complexity of flavours to work with.

There are two main rules to pairing food, either try to contrast the taste of the cheese with the flavour of the beer, or compliment the two.

Fresh and light cheeses, such as goats cheese suit the citrusy flavours of Belgian white beers, Gueuze and German wheat beers – this pairing is all about keeping it fresh, the high carbonation of the beer acting as a natural palate cleanser.

A nutty, aged cheese such as Montgomery’s cheddar, or Lincolnshire Poacher often pairs well with brown ales and Flemish red ales such as Ridgeway’s Warm Welcome or Duchesse de Bourgogne.

Veined blue cheese always looks great on a sharing platter, these cheeses pair well with Barley wines, and imperial stouts, such as Ridgeway’s Imperial Stout, Criminally Bad Elf or Anchor Christmas Ale.

This is just a guideline to creating your cheese platter; if you'd like more advice and help with constructing your Christmas cheese board we are always happy to help at Bottle and Board.

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