Pairing grilled cheese and beer is made much better with this great cookbook
It’s well known that pizza and beer are a perfect match, but beer and grilled cheese can be an equally potent combination. For any grilled cheese lovers, Grilled Cheese and Beer is an excellent cookbook.
Put together by a chef and brewer duo from New York, this cookbook is something that anyone can sink their teeth into.
Grilled Cheese and Beer comes with 150 full-colour pages of grilled cheese and beery goodness. With over 60 recipes, the book runs the gamut from simple white bread, yellow cheese and bologna (paired with light American lager, of course) to far more complex recipes that can include anything from Challah bread, apples, sausage, or blue cheese.
Expect lots of puns and mouthwatering photographs.
As someone who is accustomed to more traditional grilled cheese recipes – I might use two kinds of cheese but that’s about as adventurous as I tend to get – this book was an eye opener. Not only did authors Kevin and James give me some new ideas for grilled cheese sandwiches, they also provided a nice beer pairing section for each sandwich with a recommended beer, as well as what you can expect when you enjoy the two together. Plus, each recipe is a pun or a reference of some kind so there’s always something new to discover.
Most of the recommended beers in the book are American but there are a smattering of European and even Canadian brews thrown in. BC’s own Driftwood Brewery is recommended for both Fat Tug and White Bark, which was great to see.
Rather than go on and on about what to expect in the book, I thought I’d share three grilled cheese and beer pairings that I made from the book. Hopefully you find them as mouth-watering as I did!
So long and thanks for all the tuna fish + Strange Fellows Jongleur Wit
This recipe takes a typical tuna melt to another level entirely by using horseradish and dijon mustard for a nice kick. The recipe called for Driftwood’s Fat Tug or White Bark Witbier.
Trying to keep the focus closer to home I went with Strange Fellows Jongleur Wit instead of the suggested pairings. This actually worked rather well with since it brought out the pepper, coriander, and citrus notes in the beer, making all those flavours more prominent.
It was greasy and messy, but I’ve since made it again and paired it with an IPA. This recipe is definitely a keeper.
Nacho Liberte + Yellow Dog Play Dead IPA
This recipe is basically French Toast coated with crushed tortilla chips and smothered in homemade spicy nacho cheese. It’s messy. It’s spicy. It also uses beer in the cheese sauce!
I used my own homemade bread but I think it would’ve been better if I had used white bread as requested by the recipe. With less hearty bread and a bit more time in the pan to crisp up this one would’ve been much crunchier but that’s on me, not the book. The cheese sauce was so messy but it meant I was mopping it up with the crunchy crust near the end just like the last bit on a nacho plate.
I paired this one with Yellow Dog Play Dead IPA and that was a good choice. The citrus and tropical fruit of the hops help cut through the spice from the chilies in the cheese sauce.
The best part? I’ve got plenty of leftover queso cheese to eat with tortilla chips after!
The Sweet Treat + Main Street Stag & Pheasant Imperial Stout
This one threw me for a loop but the result was awesome, albeit as messy as Nacho Liberte above. Sweet cream cheese between two French Toast sweet buns, filled with berries and chocolate. This is a sweet bomb and definitely more of a brunch sandwich in my opinion.
For this one I paired that mouthful of sweetness with Main Street Brewing’s Stag & Pheasant Imperial Stout. I didn’t have the barrel aged version on hand but I expect that would’ve made this pairing even better. The rich malts in the beer, were cut through by the sweetness of the fruit and creamy cheese. But those latter flavours helped bring out much more of the roasted coffee and chocolate notes in this excellent stout.
Some final thoughts
If you’re looking for a unique cookbook Grilled Cheese and Beer by Kevin Vanblarcum and James Edward Davis is absolutely worth picking up. I expect that I’d be referring back to this book many times instead of making another boring old cheese sandwich. Be warned though: you’re definitely going to need a few napkins.
If you’re interested in Grilled Cheese & Beer, check it out on Amazon.