While there might still be a debate about what exactly is “fall’s best beverage,” we can all agree that cider has a top spot on the list. This season, we’re taking a look at some of our favorite hard cider varieties and their perfect cheese pairings to get in the mood for some autumn sipping that’ll keep you warm as the temperatures drop.
Sparkling and Bloomy
Bubbles and bloomies are a natural combo. Whether you’re into dry or sweet, the carbonation from a sparkling cider is the ultimate partner for a creamy, buttery triple cream or goat’s milk round. The fizziness of the cider cuts right through the decadent butterfat, creating a luxurious mouthful that’ll be a five-star hit. Try your favorite sparkler with Sherry Gray, a silky ash-ripened selection from Jasper Hill, a button of sweet and creamy Four Fat Fowl St. Stephen, or a French favorite known for its luscious texture: Fromager D’Affinois Triple Cream Excellence.
Sweet and Salty
Bring on the flavor! When it comes to fruit-forward ciders, we like to take an “opposites attract” pairing approach. For bold apple flavor, strawberry, black cherry, or any other sweet picks from the orchard, we like to grab something salty and savory to offset the brightness of the cider like blues or washed rinds. Get inspired with a spruce-wrapped washed rind like our own Cave Aged Reserve Greensward, a beer-washed and leaf-wrapped blue like Shakerag Blue, or a classic buttery blue cheese with salty veining like Murray’s Stilton.
Like with Like
One of Murray’s other pairing principles is matching “like with like,” meaning pairing similar flavors that have profiles that complement each other. For example, a pineapple cider pairs perfectly with Pleasant Ridge Reserve Extra Aged, an award-winning snackable cheese that has notes of prickly pineapple and tropical fruit. A spiced cider, then, is a match for a cheese that’s loaded with spices or seasoning like Turmeric Toma, a simple table cheese that’s been flavored with toasty turmeric. Similarly, a rich blue that has sweet notes of pear like Rogue River Blue is a natural choice for a pear cider. The possibilities are endless!
If you’re just looking for some light and easy sipping, we’ve got plenty of crowd-pleasing favorites that’ll be perfectly at home on an autumn cheese board no matter what you’re drinking. For a dry ale-style cider, try a timeless Gouda like our Murray’s Estate Gouda. If you’re a cheddar fan, New York State Yellow Cheddar is the ideal pick for a traditional apple cider that leans sweet. And for the fruit fans out there, you can’t go wrong with a subtle sheep’s milk tang from Murray’s Cave Aged Original Buttermilk Basque.
Looking for more pairing inspo? Check out our comprehensive Beverage Pairing Guide, which has selections for your favorite ciders, fall beers, and seasonal wines.