The Ultimate Guide: Pairing Chocolate & Beer
Posted on August 11 2016
Completely delicious on its own, chocolate can also serve as a unique catalyst to intensify or draw out flavors of other foods & beverages.
Pairing wine with chocolate is a nice, common go-to when gracing this topic. However, both wine & chocolate are extremely powerful flavor-wise, pairing the two almost creates a battle on the palate, commonly called a “palate power play”, the two dominant elements almost vie for attention.
Voyaging down another (sometimes surprising) path, let us introduce you to the world of pairing chocolate with... beer. For anyone raising noses to this notion, it’s time to drop your expectations, we’ve seen some wine-obsessed folks get wowed & wooed when pairing the two.
Below, you’ll find a guide to navigate you on how to make it all happen. If you'd like to replicate a similar experience at our Charlottesville or Richmond shop, just give us a call (information here) & we'll be happy chat with you about our private pairing parties or other options. We’re also thrilled to collaborate with Hardywood Brewery for a chocolate & beer pairing in November, just stay updated with our Facebook, Twitter & Instagram for more details.
The basics: Let’s start with why beer & chocolate make magic together. Rather than pairing two dominant flavors (like wine & chocolate), beer becomes the subtle partner to bold chocolate. Intensity is cut even more with the light & bubbly effervescent (bubbly) quality of beer, forming a match made in heaven.
The rules: It’s pretty simple, you’ll want to pair similar flavors (think “like with like”) & taste from lightest to darkest, this keeps from overwhelming your palate. With that being said, simply start with pairing lighter, milk & white chocolates with lighter-bodied beers then working your way to darker chocolates with rich & darker beers. Take a few sip of your chosen beer, notice the flavor, then take a bite of the chocolate, as it starts to melt on your palate, go for a sip of beer again. From there you might get a sensation of heightened flavors or a flavor you didn't pick up before the chocolate.
The options: Many people assume sweet & heavy-bodied stouts are the only compliment to chocolate. Wrong. While pairing dark chocolate with stout (personally, we love Hardywood’s Sidamo Coffee Stout with our dark chocolate, Criolla) is fantastic, so is pairing brown ales, lagers, bocks, hefeweizens & even ciders.
Here are some great & simple pairing suggestions ranging from light to dark (pairings are based using our chocolates & beers we adore):