Cheesify Your Oktoberfest with These Beer & Cheese Pairings

When the first crisp breezes of autumn are in the air, you know it’s time for Oktoberfest – that boisterous celebration of Bavarian heritage that despite its name falls in mid-September, heralded by clinking steins and the joyous pulse of oompah music.

Marzen, the style of lager traditionally drunk at Oktoberfest, is named for the month of March, when it was produced in compliance with medieval Bavarian law that prohibited brewing during the summer months.

Given that Oktoberfest beers are consumed in full liter increments, it’s no surprise that they are known for supreme drinkability.  But don’t mistake this genre for swill – here are three unique American and German Marzens that make excellent complements to some of the world’s finest cheeses.

Oktoberfest Marzen-style Lager

Blue Point Brewing Company (Patchogue, NY)

Consider this your warmup round, or appetizer – a light, sweet, floral, thirst-quenching brew that invites savory accompaniments and thus lends itself to a wide range of possible cheese pairings.

  • A golden-hued, light bodied, very balanced and highly quaffable lager
  • Pleasant yeasty and floral aromas accompany a dominant malty sweetness – a perfect complement to equally light bodied, but lemony and tangy soft goat’s milk cheeses
  • It’s so easy to drink this beer, you might forget to move on to the next two if you’re not careful!

Cheese Pairings Humboldt Fog, Chabichou du Poitou, Pico Picandine, Westfield Farm Capri, Bucheron

Humboldt Fog, made by Cypress Grove

2017 Oktoberfest Marzen-style Lager

Sierra Nevada (Chico, CA) & Brauhaus Miltenberger (Miltenberg, Germany)

With this American-German collaboration, Sierra Nevada and Brauhaus Miltenberger offer a brew that packs more punch without sacrificing drinkability.  Its forward hoppiness does well with cheddars and fudgy Alpine style cheeses.

  • Deep, hazy amber tone with aromas of dewy grass and subtle tangerine notes
  • Creamy mouthfeel with a focused citrus-peel bitterness that conditions the taste buds for a rich, nutty and tangy pairing – think American cheddars and Alpine-style cheeses
  • There’s more here to be savored, but don’t mistake this for sipping beer. Drink, eat, repeat!

Pairings5 Spoke Creamery Tumbleweed, Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Consider Bardwell Rupert, Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Milton Creamery Flory’s Truckle

Pleasant Ridge Reserve, made by Uplands Cheese Company

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Smoked Marzen-style Lager

Brauerei Heller (Bamberg, Germany)

The final selection, from Bavaria’s historic Brauerei Heller, fires on all cylinders, making it a superb accompaniment to strong, buttery blues and sweet fruit preserves.

  • Dark mahogany color, with aromas of smoke and black cherry syrup
  • Light to medium body, with a slightly tart lingering finish, this Marzen nevertheless drinks like a heavier beer due to the intensity of the smoke
  • Time for dessert – sip this bad boy alongside a rich, creamy blue cheese topped with cherries in syrup or preserved walnuts

Pairings:  Chiriboga Blue, Persille de Rambouillet, Cambozola Black Label, Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese, Fourme d’Ambert

Persille de Rambouillet

Written by: Tyler Frankenberg, Murray’s Cheese

Bonjour, Flavor!

Sometimes, what you need is an escape. Especially around the holidays. But if you can’t escape, what’s the next best thing? An experience that transports you. That’s why the gift of Murray’s is your best bet this holiday season – it can whisk you away to a land of flavor and delight. This time, we take you to France with the French Connection

Come a-whey with us – to strolls along the Seine River, leading to an afternoon lunch at a cafe not far from the Eiffel Tower. Or to cool mountain air from high up in the French Alps, watching cows and sheep graze. It all is embodied in the cheeses highlighted in the French Connection – a tour across the land of France.

First is the traditional French Alpine cheese – Comte comes from France’s Jura region, capturing the essence of raw, mountain pasture-fed cow milk with a hint of sweet milk, stone fruit, and brown butter. The rich chunk of Ossau Iraty comes from the Pyrenees – it’s a grassy-sweet sheep’s milk cheese highlighted by toasted wheat and hazelnut flavors. The Prince of French Blues, Bleu d’Auvergne comes from the same region as Roquefort, and is mellower and meatier than its spicy sheep relative. And that unassuming, miniature white wheel? That’s Chabichou – a wrinkly aged goat cheese chock full of lemon zest and minerality, the perfect tangy little bite.

But it wouldn’t be enough simply to feature cheese – The French Connection also highlights France’s answer to salumi with Saucisson Sec. Porky, with a hint of garlic, it is best served whole, while you or your guests slice medium-thick bites. With the Comte, it is divine, especially paired with the mix of French Olives that accompany it. Or top the Ossau Iraty and Bleu d’Auvergne with the Black Cherry Confit – the mix of flavors will surprise and delight.

We want to make gift-giving easy for you. Whether buying for the cheese novice or the hardcore cheese fanatic, we have something for everyone!