This study was designed to explore the hedonic response of consumers to cheese and beer pairings by tasting in a typical social environment of consumption. Ninety-six regular beer and cheese consumers hedonically rated all fifty-six pairings of eight bottom fermented red beers and seven cheeses (Parmigiano Reggiano, Fontina, Taleggio, Smoked Provola, Mozzarella, Caprino, and Gorgonzola).Preference varied across samples (p. <. 0.001). One consumer out of two appreciated all of the pairings, yet pairings with Mozzarella were liked moderately. One consumer out of three appreciated pairings with Parmigiano, were neutral in their hedonic response to pairings with Fontina and disliked moderately the remaining pairings but those including mozzarella were extremely unappealing to them. One consumer out of six disliked all the pairings tested but some matches with Parmigiano were liked slightly. Liking of cheese and bottom fermented red beer pairings is biased by the type of cheese partnered with beer (Parmigiano most liked and Mozzarella least liked); by the type of beer partnered with cheese, and by the liking of the sensory properties of the beers and of the cheese tasted alone. However, consumers do not simply enjoy a combination of their most preferred beer and cheese. They identified some flavors that harmonize better than do others. Also, significant correlations between mean liking scores and sensory characteristics of the fifty-six pairings were found. Beer flavor is modified largely by prior cheese consumption. Each cheese has an effect on beer flavor and this effect is consistent over the eight different beers. In general all of the cheeses decreased the intensity of fruitiness, sweetness, perceived level of carbonation, perceived level of alcoholicity, caramel-like, licorice-like and burnt notes. Bitterness, astringency, and burnt notes were reduced by most of the cheeses but Fontina and Smoked Provola increased the perception of these attributes. For brewers to profitably exploit the potential of the science of cheese and beer pairing the choice of a suitable beer and of a suitable cheese in terms of liking and sensory properties and the identification of a proper target audience familiar to the beers paired with cheese are essential.
- Food pairing