Beer and Chocolate Pairings

July 30, 2013 5 Comments

Craft beer meets Chocolates by Bernard Callebaut

Many of you know that we offer Wine and Chocolate Parties at my store so I thought - why not make a few beer and chocolate pairing recommendations for the summer? Great idea, but there was one problem...I don't drink beer! On our handful of hot summer days, I crave a refreshing glass of Pinot Gris or crisp Sauvignon Blanc. The idea of cracking open a brewski never even enters my mind! Because I'm always open to broadening my food experiences (yes, beer is food to me!), I cracked open some beer books, planted myself at a brew house and enlisted the help of a few Beer Luvin' Tweeps for a crash course in Craft Beer 101. My reaction to "every man's drink" completely surprised me! I found myself drooling as I learned about the ingredients, brewing process and styles of beer and easily saw parallels with beer, chocolate and wine. It took no time at all for me to fall in love with my newest obsession!

The Beers

For our first beer and chocolate tasting, I wanted to feature Canadian microbreweries. Here are the beers I chose:
  1. Howe Sound Four Way Fruit Ale, British Columbia
  2. Big Rock Warthog Ale, Alberta
  3. Mcauslan St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout, Quebec
  4. Alley Kat St. Portersburg Baltic Porter, Alberta
  5. Paddock Wood 1000 Monkeys Russian Imperial Stout, Saskatchewan
  6. Paddock Wood Barrel Full of Monkeys Russian Imperial Stout, Saskatchewan

Beer and Chocolate

Beer and chocolate pairings are much like wine and chocolate pairings. Some beers will clash with some chocolates, meaning the experience of one brings out displeasing characteristics in the other and vice versa. Since beer is a new frontier for me, my initial pairings were somewhat experimental so we did a lot of impromptu tasting and tweaking...Yes, I know. I have a tough job!

The Pairings

The fruits in the Howe Sound Four Way were well hidden, but I hear it shows much better on tap. State and Main, Original Joe's and The TapHouse serve this on tap so guess where I'm going? For those who have tasted the Four Way on tap, they recommend our milk chocolate Leaf chocolate (Black Currant ganache filling) as a favorite. Big Rock Warthog is an easy-drinking mild ale that would be a great way to ease non-beer drinkers into the world of craft beers. I thought this one would be the most challenging pairing, but we matched this one up with our Karamel chocolate and it was a slam-dunk! Quickly making our way to the dark beers, I originally paired the St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout with our dark chocolate Cinnamon Ginger. The pairing was unsuccessful, the stout accentuating the cinnamon to an unflattering degree. Alternatively, I would try this one with our Chocolate Covered Ginger, milk chocolate Gingerbread or our chocolate covered biscuits. The Alley Kat St. Portersburg pairing was also an experiment. I thought Canadienne Truffle would be a winner, but no dice. The maple was suppressed by the dark beer and just got lost. Our Sambucca dark chocolate ganache, on the other hand, was a winner! The last two stouts by Paddock Wood were my favorites for sure. These dark, thick, coffee-like beers both paired very well with our solid dark chocolate and our Bernard butter ganache. I would also recommend the stouts with our dark chocolate Square and Celeste Truffle.

Homework

It was a challenge to narrow down our tasting to only six beers. Here are a few more that I didn't choose for our first tasting but look forward to trying soon:
  • Alley Kat Aprikat
  • Wild Rose WRaspberry Ale
  • Fernie Brewing Company What the Huck Wheat Ale
  • Howe Sound Mega Destroyer Imperial Licorice Stout
  • Howe Sound Pothole Filler Imperial Stout
I'd love to hear about the craft beers you are drinking, particularly if you think it would pair well with chocolate! Either leave a comment below or tweet me at @cocolady_ca. You can even use the Untappd app to share with me! Special thanks to these Beer Luvin' Tweeps for taking one for the team and indulging in our first Beer and Chocolate Party: @melwillerth, @sarahkerr81, @DeGalesloot, @TheGoodBeerGuy, @PaddockWoodGuy and @aricj.


5 Responses

CocoLady
CocoLady

June 05, 2014

I can’t say that I’ll ever be a “real” beer drinker, but this experience has opened up lots of opportunities for new experiences! I’m hoping to tour the Wild Rose Brewery in Calgary and the Grizzly Paw in Canmore next month : )

CocoLady
CocoLady

June 05, 2014

Lol The original plan was to do a video but the same thing happened as when I do wine and chocolate tastings…I get too “involved” with the wine (or in this case beer) that I forget to press record! I recorded a bit after, but it’s just not the same. Guess we’ll have to do it again!

Sofie Blunck
Sofie Blunck

June 05, 2014

I am not a beer drinker, but this looks like too much fun to miss out on! I love that you tried beers from local micro breweries.

Brenda Sargeant
Brenda Sargeant

June 05, 2014

This ALMOST convinced me I need beer in my life….but I think I’ll stick to wine & chocolate ;) I feel like you should have YouTubed this process of tasting all the beers!

Patrick
Patrick

June 05, 2014

Nice write up to a fun, and delicious evening. I enjoyed teh Paddock Wood Stouts as well, but my personal favorite of the evening was the The Alley Kat St. Portersburg. For fruit ales I would recommend the Wild Rose Wraspberry, it is one of the best fruit ales out there.

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