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Perfect Pairings: Beer, Meat & Cheese

April 28th, 2016

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

Brian Sacawa

Brian Sacawa is the Founder of He Spoke Style and one of the original men’s style influencers. Since 2013, his goal has remained the same: to provide men the advice and inspiration they need to dress well, develop their personal style, and gain more confidence. Brian’s interest and passion for men’s style and luxury watches has led to his writing for The Robb Report, The Rake, and Sotheby’s and he has been quoted on menswear in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal,, Brides Magazine, and the Huffington Post. He lives in the woods north of Baltimore with his wife, Robin, kitties Nick and Nora, and German Shepherd/Collie mix Charlie.

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