There are many wonderful food pairings, from wine and cheese to port and… cheese, but have you thought about the pairing between beer and chocolate? Yes, really! Beer and chocolate as a food pairing have seen a massive rise in popularity over the past few years, and there have been many people that have long touted the smooth textures of pale ales and golden ones. It has even got to be as delicate an art as wine tasting. Much as wine goes great with certain foods to enhance the flavor, you can pick and choose some great ales to go alongside some great chocolate, and some other desserts too!
When it comes to matching your beers and chocolates, there are things you have to bear in mind, and these are, firstly, sweetness. The importance of matching the sweetness of the dessert to the beer means that the beer won't feel so dry in comparison to an overly sweet dessert, so make sure to choose a beer that is as sweet as or sweeter than your dessert. An ashen stout has so many chocolatey flavors because of the malts found in the beer that it becomes a perfect pairing for rich chocolate cake or a chocolate mousse. The richness of a chocolate mousse pairs so well with a beer that is more caramelly in texture. You can go for the stouts which are commonly found in great recipes like Guinness cupcakes, but you need to compliment the dessert. Thick, dark stouts have so many flavors similar to the cake that it will overpower it.
For desserts that are fruity, the yeast content will be your guide! Look for beers that are fruity and golden in color. German wheat beers work well with fruity pie-based desserts, but there are also plenty of great sweet and fruity beers to go for. For acidic desserts, like pannacotta with a rich berry coulis, you need a beer with enough sourness to let the dish shine! If you have a very big sweet tooth and love the sickly-sweetness of caramel or toffee sauce, you cannot go far wrong with a caramelly beer that has enough texture to carry off the dessert, but the safe bet is to go for a smoky, golden ale. The sweetness will match the dessert wonderfully and won't leave you feeling so full after a heavy dessert and a heavy beer!
The pairing of beer with chocolate has been a new thing in recent years, but it’s a great entryway for those that cannot stomach wine to develop a more sophisticated palette. The surge in popularity of craft ales has shown that there is an audience for enjoying a fine ale or beer to go with every different type of food. So the next time you sit down in a restaurant and are asked to select a wine, look at the beer list instead! For those that turn their nose up at your choice of beverage, give them a sip of your IPA with a spoon of your dessert!