Perfect Pairings: Beer, Meat & Cheese

3 / 9
The meats: finocchiona, jamon serrano and peppercorn pate.

4 / 9
Von Trapp Oma is a funky washed rind cheese.

5 / 9
My favorite pair of old A.P.C. jeans, my favorite Rolex and one of my favorite Belgian beers.

Entertaining in style with Gulden Draak belgian beer and a charcuterie plate

I have to be honest and tell you that I am not a huge beer drinker. Actually, I rarely drink beer. However, there are certain times when I get a ridiculous – and I do mean ridiculous – craving for beer.

And when those cravings set it, it’s for one of two very specific types of beer. It’s either got to be something extremely light and crisp or something Belgian.

It’s probably the ex-bicycle racer (and possibly saxophone player – Adolphe Sax was born in Belgium, after all) in me, but there is a special place in my heart for Belgian beer. And one of my favorites is Gulden Draak – a beer that I’d characterize as bold but aggressively smooth.

A great beer is one thing, but pairing it with great food is another. Robin and I are hosting some friends at the apartment this weekend, so I set out to put together a perfectly well-balanced charcuterie spread to pair with our bottles of Gulden Draak.

gulden draak ale food pairing

gulden draak ale food pairing

I find the flavor profile of Gulden Draak to have touches of chocolate and caramel. It’s got a very full and smooth mouthfeel and a long, bittersweet finish.

Keeping that in mind, here are the meats, cheeses and condiments we chose to pair with the beer.

The Meats

Our meat selections represent the spectrum from mildly spicy to smooth.

1. Finocchiona. A coarsely ground hard pork salami seasoned with fennel pollen and fennel seed. A nice complement to the smoothness of the beer.

2. Jamon Serrano. A smooth cured ham with a nutty flavor. Flakier than a typical serrano. A good mid-range taste.

3. Peppercorn Pate. A coarsely chopped pate with peppercorns and red wine wrapped in pancetta. This meat selection offers an excellent contrast to the other two meats and a nice bit of textural interest.

<img src="" alt="gulden draak ale food pairing" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-20476" />

The Cheeses

1. Comte. Comte cheese is part of the Greyère family. It’s complex – fruity, nutty and toasty – and has a medium firmness.

2. Von Trapp Oma. This is a “washed rind” cheese. It’s soft, like brie, and has a buttery peanut flavor. A word or warning, that this cheese has a bit of an aroma and something of a funky odor, though not overpowering. Perfect on a slice of hearty bread or with a some jamon serrano.

The Condiments

A few favorites to complement any charcuterie plate.

1. Cornichons. That tiny French pickle you can never go wrong with.

2. Whole Grain Mustard. I like to put a dab of mustard on each of the meats. In this instance, it works best with the finocchiona and the jamon seranno.

3. Fig Spread. The fig spread pairs nicely with the pate as well as both cheeses.

<img src="" alt="gulden draak ale food pairing" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-20476" />

We’re pleased to be partnering with Gulden Draak on this post. Share your favorite Gulden Draak moments using the hashtags #ConquerTheDragon or #GuldenDraak on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to be entered into a drawing for some Gulden Draak swag. Cheers!

Thanks for reading.

Stylishly Yours,

Brian Sacawa
He Spoke Style

In partnership with Gulden Draak. The opinions expressed herein are mine alone and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gulden Draak.

Photography by Rob McIver Photo


Chime In

  • Nick

    This looks so damn delicious.
    As a Belgian reader I can say you made a good choice with the gulden draak. Really nice beer, great post as always.
    Would love if you could do some more of these pairings.

    • Brian Sacawa

      Thanks, Nick! And it was delicious.

      Have any other Belgian beers to recommend?

      • Nick

        Ofcourse, most Belgian beers are pretty good.
        Depends on your flavour though.
        If you like blonde, dark or amber.
        In the blonde I would opt for a Blonde Tongerloo, West-Vleteren 8, Tripel Karmeliet, Straffe Hendrik Quadruppel….
        If you like darker beers I would go for West-Vleteren 10 or 12 (12 is better in my opinion), Chimay Blue, Chimay Red, orval, Kwak (You should drink this out of the original glass, the name of the beer resembles the sound it makes (in Dutch). There are so many beers that I’m probably forgetting, but with these you can’t go wrong.
        If you ever visit Belgium, and have some time left you should visit Bruges and maybe hit me up, we could grab a great beer together.

  • Thomas Hynes

    I love the collar on that shirt. Brand?

    • Brian Sacawa

      It’s from Al Bazar in Milan.

  • Jerome

    Great article! It is Gruyère, not Greyère, you may want to fix the typo ;-) I love Gulden Draak, one of my favorite dark beer along with Chimay Blue and Kaastel Brown! While drinking one of these strong beers, I usually snack on aged Gouda (Holland), aged Gruyère (France), Manchego (Spain) and/or aged Parmesan (Italy). The aged cheese are usually more salted than their regular counterpart and balance nicely the smoothness and sweetness of the beer. You should give it a try :-)