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Who dares split up wine and cheese? That stodgy pair has lorded over hors d’oeuvres tables for eons (and the cheese usually looks like it). It’s supposed to be high-class, but let’s face it: unless you really know what you’re doing, the cheese is too sweet or too rich, the wine too tannic or too thin. The cheese, in other words, is always too cheesy, and the wine… you get the idea. But beer is forgiving. Light or thick, sharp or smooth, it always seems to balance whatever you throw at it. It figures—beer is basically bread, and what makes more sense than cheese on toast?

We worked with Amy Van Arsdale, cheesemonger at Brooklyn’s Bedford Cheese Shop, to pair some basic beers with some of her favorite American cheeses—plus a couple easier-to-find European styles. For more pairings, more beers, and of course, advice on how to brew them yourself, check out Beer Craft.