SPA Cheese Pairings
March 31, 2022
English-style ales are a match made in heaven when paired with cheese, especially UK style cheddars! Our in-house cheese expert Jen Whyte put together some mouthwatering pairings to try with our award-winning Special Pale Ale.
First brewed in 1987, Special Pale Ale (SPA) is one of our most popular year-round beers. It's an easy-going and smooth pale ale that is deep copper in colour with a toasty malt profile coupled with sweet fruity aromas, hints of nuttiness, and biscuit malt notes. It’s the kind of well-balanced ale that pairs exceptionally well with a wide range of foods but when enjoyed alongside a perfectly paired cheese, it’s a whole new experience!
The subtle fruity and tangy flavors of aged English cheddars are a perfect match for the biscuity, caramel malt sweetness, light fruitiness, and earthy, herbal hops of English-style pale ales. Try a pint of SPA with the Thomas Hoe Stevenson Red Leicester, an iconic English Cheddar made in Melton on Mowbray in England. It’s famous for its brilliant red orange colour. This sharp and tangy clothbound cheddar finishes with earthy notes that echo the earthy English hops used in the beer. The malts in SPA contrast and cut the tanginess of the cheese. This pairing comes alive when you add a fig jam adding a complexity in both the beer and the cheese - it almost tastes like a dessert - reminiscent of treacle. The beer becomes more rich, dark, and almost chocolatey.
You can also pair Special Pale Ale with the Five Brothers cheese from Gunn’s Hill Cheese in Woodstock, Ontario. This easy going gouda and appenzellar hybrid, mimics the flavours of a milder cheddar- rich, buttery, salty, and sharp. It showcases the beer’s smooth and well-balanced flavour, making this a delightful pairing.
An equally divine pairing is Thatcher Farms Summer Sausage from Guelph-Eramosa, Ontario. The tang of Summer Sausage contrasts the sweetness of the malts in Special Pale Ale. The carbonation in the beer cuts the fat in the sausage and the subtle saltiness of the meat makes SPA a thirst quenching and satisfying combination. Add pickled onion and pickles and you have the perfect ploughman’s lunch!
Try these tasty pairings at home or pop by the brewery and give them a try in the Welly Tap Room. Be sure to let us know what you think and share your favourite cheese and beer pairings with us on social media. Cheers!
In-house cheese expert Jen Whyte