What is the better pairing: beer and cheese, or wine and cheese? It’s an age-old question that deserves thorough research. We won’t tell you what to think—we’ll just tell you where to go, and you can judge for yourself.
If you’re cruising through the St. John’s Town Center on Friday or Saturday between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. you might see a Wendy’s. Ignore that, and head next door to Ovinté for $1 off drinks and some excellent cheese options. There are around ten different cheeses to choose from. Cows, goats, and sheep are all represented on Ovinté’s menu. The sweet and salty 5-Year Gouda pairs well with Intuition’s King Street Stout, balancing the butterscotch undertones of the cheese. Or, try the fruity Taleggio cheese with a glass of Carmenet merlot from 2013. Try a cheese (or ten) with your favorite wine or beer, and let the flavors mingle.
The cheeses at The Grotto Wine and Tapas Bar in San Marco are equally diverse and aged. This weekend, try Midnight Moon, an aged goat’s milk cheese that’s nutty and buttery. Another excellent choice is the Oregon Blue, which is a semi-soft blue cheese made from raw cow’s milk. The Grotto recommends engaging your senses as you see, smell, and taste their wines and cheeses, so don’t be shy when it comes to sniffing your plate or glass. Mix the Midnight Moon with Bold City’s Mad Manatee IPA for a cheesy affair, or a Dows Ruby Port with the Oregon Blue for a softer taste. Feel free to mix and match however you please.
After stopping by The Grotto, hop over to another San Marco favorite, The Grape and Grain Exchange.One of the most popular cheeses here is the Humboldt Fog: a clean and creamy goat cheese that blends wonderfully with a Milbrandt chardonnay. For beer palettes, there’s the Cahill’s Irish cheese aged in Guinness porter, combining beer and cheese in one bite. Afterward, slip into the Palour, the speakeasy of Grape and Grain, and enjoy drinks and music until 2am.