Pairing Beer and Chocolate
Wine and chocolate might make an obvious tasty pairing, but what about beer? Learn how to pair beer and chocolate for a night of surprises, either by yourself, or with friends!
By Emma Zhao on Jun. 22, 2022
Beer is to burgers what Robin is to Batman. But, while sweets like chocolate might not be the first thing the average person would use to pair with beer, beer and chocolate could make a really interesting combination!
You might not think it, but beer and chocolate have quite a lot in common. Much like red wine, the flavor profiles of certain beers can sometimes match the dark malty notes in dark chocolate, according to experts at Lindt Canada.
The Basics of Beer and Chocolate
Rather than pairing two dominant flavor profiles together, beer serves more as a sidekick to the rich and bold flavors of chocolates. While wine offers a heavy intensity to a pairing with chocolate, beer can offer a light and effervescent bubbliness which cuts down on the intensity of chocolate.
According to Mirella Amato, Master Cicerone® and creator of the online course: “Mastering Beer & Food brought to you by Beerology®,” is especially passionate about pairing chocolate and beer.
“A good pairing will enhance the flavor of both the beer and the food,” said Amato. “It’s surprising to me that more people aren’t aware of how great beer can be with chocolate.”
How do you pair beer and chocolate?
Pairing beer and chocolate is surprisingly simple. The first and most important thing to keep in mind when doing so is that you’ll want to try and avoid pairing like with like. By pairing similar flavors, you might overwhelm your taste buds.
According to Amato, pairing beer and chocolate is similar to most beer and food pairing.
“You should consider how key tastes interact, for example, bitterness compounds, so you want to avoid pairing a bitter chocolate with a bitter beer,” she said. “From there, you can have fun looking for flavors that work well together.”
While there isn’t a set way on how to taste beer and chocolate pairings, you can alternate between the two (take a sip of beer, a bite of chocolate, and another sip of beer). You might notice some sensations or flavor profiles that you hadn’t noticed before.
A tip for pairing dark chocolates: while you can pair darker chocolates with stouts, and although it is a more common pairing, you can also try pairing darker chocolates with lagers, brown ales, and hefeweizens. Even stouts with a coffee undertone could make your dark chocolate pairing more interesting!
Beer and Chocolate Pairing Starters
When you start out your beer and chocolate tasting, Amato recommends starting with a darker beer, such as a porter or stout. Darker beers are brewed with grains that are similar to roasting cocoa beans for coffee.
“I especially like dark beers with milk chocolate,” said Amato. “The sweet creaminess of the chocolate is a great counterpoint to the more bitter, roasted notes in the beer.”
To start you off on your beer and chocolate pairing journey, here are some beer and chocolate combinations that Amato recommends!
Oatmeal Stout with a Caramel and Milk Chocolate
Amato recommends this as a good starter for darker beers and milk chocolates. The sweet and saccharine flavor of the milk caramel chocolate will compliment the otherwise bitter and malty flavors in the oatmeal stout.
American Pale Ale and Milk Chocolate
American Pale Ale and a good quality milk chocolate, is also a good beer and milk chocolate pairing, according to Amato. “The contrast between the bright hop aromas of the beer and the rich dark aromas of the chocolate is lovely,” she said.
Hefeweizens + Cinnamon/Spicy Chocolates
Hefeweizens are light and crispy, which can really compliment a spicy chocolate. You can try some cinnamon infused chocolates. Mexican chocolates could also be a really interesting combination.
“It’s unusual that you will encounter a bad pairing,” said Amato. “Most of them will be okay, and then you’ll come across one that is spectacular. It’s a fun adventure.”
Interested in more beer pairings? Check out these articles:
The Ultimate Guide to Pairing Beer with Food
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