Beer beat wine four-two in a "taste-off" organised by the Food Development Association (FDA) at Allium restaurant in London.
Beer was the favoured accompaniment to four out of six cheeses selected by the restaurant's executive chef, Anton Edelmann. Ben Bartlett, catering development manager for the Union Pub Company, selected beers from Wolverhampton & Dudley and Thornbridge Hall breweries.
Taster of Wine Sally Easton selected non-traditional wines from around the world. Members of the FDA rated each wine and beer on its own merits and as a match for the cheeses. So, while the Chapel Down Bacchus Reserve 2003 from England was preferred to Marston's Oyster Stout, the participants felt the stout was a better pairing with Crottin de Chavignol. Other favoured pairings were: Montgomery Cheddar with Marston's Pedigree; Stinking Bishop with Marston's Firestoker; Roquefort with Bank's Barley Gold Ale; Abbaye de Bellocq with the De Toren Fusion V 2002 from South Africa; and Munster fermier with the Franz Hirtzberger Grüner Veltliner Honivogl Smaragd 2003 from Austria.