Friday Food Pairing: Black IPA + Aged Cheddar

So I just scanned through all of our Friday food pairings, and it’s official: IPAs are getting most of the attention. Yikes! I promise that moving forward we’ll do a better job of incorporating a variety of beer styles in these posts. Next week, you won’t hear me mention hops at all…


…but right now, I’m going to talk to you about another IPA, and I can honestly say that this one is different than all those we’ve written about before. Lagunitas NightTime has the huge hop presence that you expect from an IPA (especially one brewed by Lagunitas), but is also creamy and full-bodied with notes of smoke and cocoa. Usually I’m not a fan of Black IPAs; to me most drink like slightly hoppy porters, but the NightTime is PACKED with hop flavor. You wouldn’t think that citrus hops would work so well with smoke and cocoa, but it’s a match made in beer heaven.


I drank NightTime on Wednesday and liked it so much that I decided to buy it again and come up with a pairing for today. In addition to hops, the most prominent flavor is smoke, so I did a bit of research on smoke-heavy beers and bought an aged cheddar from New Zealand to pair it with. Most people recommend sharp, strong-flavored cheeses with smoky beers.


Mainland’s sharp cheddar has a smooth texture and sharp bite at the end. Interestingly, I thought the pairing made the cocoa notes in the beer more noticeable. Obviously it worked well with the hops, as hoppy beers love strong cheeses, and the smokiness was a nice addition to the sharp cheddar flavor. I just snacked on a few slices while I was making dinner, but I think this cheese would be ballin’ on a grilled cheese sandwich with caramelized onions. Am I the only one constantly daydreaming of soup and grilled cheese sandwiches because of this weather??

NightTime makes these cold winter nights a little less bleak
NightTime makes these cold winter nights a little less bleak

TRY NIGHTTIME. I adore Lagunitas, and this is now one of my favorites out of all of their delicious brews. If you do, I promise not to talk about IPAs for at least two weeks. Okay, okay, maybe one week…

Have a great weekend!


3 thoughts on “Friday Food Pairing: Black IPA + Aged Cheddar

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