8 Cheeses to Pair with Pumpkin Ales This Fall

Wondering what cheese will pair perfectly with your favorite pumpkin ale this fall? We decided to ask some experts.

Many Long Islanders jump on the fall bandwagon as soon as the kids go back to school in September, but as long as the weather still says “summer,” I refuse to give in to pumpkin anything. But now that brisk and blustery October days are here, I can finally say goodbye to my flip-flops and welcome autumn with open arms.

This means that along with a much-needed change in footwear, the items in my kitchen are changing too. Instead of freshly harvested summer treats like strawberries, cucumbers, and tomatoes, I now have apples, brussels sprouts, and pumpkins staring back at me. And as I pack away my beloved copper mule cups, I find myself reaching for a nice cold pumpkin ale.

Cooler temps also mean that I can shove my bathing suits to the back of the drawer and whip out my stretchy pants instead. Elastic waistbands mean that I can order many cheese and beer pairings without any regrets. So, with cheese on my mind and a pumpkin beer in my hand, I reached out to some local cheesemongers to find out which cheeses pair best with seasonal pumpkin ales.

C’est Cheese  x Craft
Port Jefferson

Chris Roche, co-owner of Craft, is your go-to guy when it comes to getting your hands on “hard to source” craft beer, especially beer from true, independent, craft breweries. And Joe Ciardullo, his partner at Craft and owner of C’est Cheese, recently became a Certified Cheese Professional from the American Cheese Society, so it’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about cheese.

The duo suggests pairing a fresh Chèvre such as Capricho de Cabra with Southern Tier Pumking. “This cheese is made from the milk of Murcia goats, which have the highest fat content of dairy goat breeds. The fat gives it a sweet creaminess that resembles ice cream when paired with this beer with flavors of vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon. It actually ends up tasting just like apple pie crust.”

They also recommend L’amuse Gouda paired with Schlafly Pumpkin Ale. “This beer tastes like liquid pumpkin pie, which directly compliments the hazelnut and caramel flavors of this 2-year aged artisan gouda from the Netherlands.”

The Village Cheese Shop

Michael E. Affatato, owner of The Village Cheese Shop, said two cheeses come to mind when he thinks of pumpkin ale. “The first, Sbrinz, is an Alpage raw milk Swiss that’s been aged three years and though hard in texture, is creamy in taste,” he says. “It’s a mouth-watering cheese with great girth, concentration and grip, and naturally high acidity that pairs well with Pumpkin Ale.”

The second, Crooked Mile Chèvre, is from a Northern Vermont nano-producer with only 18 goats. “Milked three times a day and fermented immediately, this cheese is formed into small, flattened softball-shaped units and hand-rubbed in natural brine,” Affatato says. “Again, acidity is key. This cheese has beautiful tanginess but finishes with a gentle cream crescendo. It boasts complex, floral, grassy notes with surprising density and length making it another great choice for pumpkin ales.”

Babylon Cheese Cellar

Tiffany Pomarico, co-owner of the Babylon Cheese Cellar, feels that “pumpkin ales rich in cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove taste like pumpkin pie when paired with a buttery cow’s milk cheese like our favorite shop selection, Dutch Farmstead from Cato Corner Farm in CT.”

Pomarico also suggests Dutch Girl Goat Gouda. “With its notes of butterscotch, mild tang, and satisfyingly sweet creaminess,” she says, “it pairs well with lightly spiced Pumpkin Ales like Brooklyn Post Road Pumpkin Ale.”

The Cheese Patch

Paige Pfeifer, owner of The Cheese Patch, loves pairing Riverhorse Hipp-O-Lantern Imperial Pumpkin craft beer with their White Stilton Wensleydale with cranberries. “This Imperial pumpkin turns what is normally a crumblier cheese into pure creamy goodness.”

For special tasting events, she pairs Schlafly Pumpkin with something with a little more kick, namely “Spicy Asiago.” “The sweetness of the beer contrasts perfectly with the red chili pepper flakes in the Asiago without being overwhelming,” Pfeifer says. “Instead, it softens and enhances the notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove notable in this beer, resulting in a balance of spicy and sweet.”