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Chocolate and Beer Pairings - Combination #5

Posted on August 7, 2008 10:58 AM by Admin
We’ve come to the final chocolate and beer pairing in our series. Keeping in mind that this will be the most intense pairing in terms of flavor and body of the beer, don’t be afraid. You’ve come through the four previous pairings and you’ve reached the pinnacle. You just need to trust one more time. Here it is:

Pairing #5
Wolaver’s Organic Oatmeal Stout (5.9% ABV) and Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffle (54% cocoa content)

The Oatmeal Stout is extremely full bodied and very dark. It is a little imposing at first glance but once you taste it, you’ll be met with these wonderful roasted notes reminiscent of chocolate and coffee – very filling and extremely satisfying. It’s in perfect balance with the strong fruity profile of the Dark Raspberry Truffle with it’s rich dark ganache and fresh berry flavors. Combine the comfort of oatmeal and the brightness of raspberry and you have a win-win combination.

So, there you have our final installment. All were very well received at the Vermont Brewers Festival and will definitely make more appearances at other events. Hey, armed with this info, they can certainly make an appearance at your events. While unsure at first, your guests will love you for it and you’ll look like a hero! And if you know of any cool chocolate and beer pairings, please send them along. Slainte!
We find ourselves at the fourth of our five chocolate and beer pairings and in keeping with proper tasting fashion, the beers have increased in intensity while the chocolates have kept in lockstep. This isn’t to say the beers are not palatable to those of us who aren’t beer aficionados. In fact, I was becoming a little skeptical at this point (as I tend to gravitate towards the beers that are lighter in color and body) but I was pleasantly surprised with this pairing and very glad I didn’t pass it up. So, here we are.

Pairing #4
Rock Art Ridge Runner Ale (7.2% ABV)  and Organic Dark Chocolate Spicy Aztec (55% cocoa content)

The Rock Art Ridge Runner Ale is a Barleywine ale with a strong flavor and a beautiful dark color. While it’s extremely smooth, there’s nothing shy about this beer. Thus, its perfectly paired with an equally unshy chocolate such as the Organic Dark Aztec chocolate with is cayenne, cinnamon and pumpkin seeds. The warm spice of the cayenne holds up to the hops (including Cascade) while the sweet and bitter blend of the chocolate complements the chocolate malty flavors hiding in the beer.

This pairing is full flavor and while it’s not for the feint of heart, those feeling slightly trepidacious (Is that a word? The debate continues…) shouldn’t be. It’s such a fun pairing, it’d be a shame to miss out. Muy caliente!
Moving to a bit of a darker beer and the third pairing in this set of five pairings, the next beer up is one that is made locally and probably not going to be found anywhere outside the area but if you ask your local beer expert, they will most likely be able to find something with a similar profile.

Pairing #3
Switchback Dooley’s Belated Porter (5.8% ABV) and Lake Champlain Chocolates’ 54% Dark Chocolate

Upon first tasting this beer, you note the roasted malt. Based on its dark color, you expect the smoky notes found within as well but a truly nice surprise is the slight bit of sweet you also get. With its strong, smooth flavor, it’s perfectly paired with our clean and pure 54% dark chocolate – both being slightly sweet with baked and roasted notes. When combined, it’s as if the flavors work together to increase your experience exponentially where as other pairings may work by contrasting flavors.

While you might not find this exact beer in your area, don’t be afraid to try other dark, malty porters with dark chocolate. I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Trust me. Really.
In continuation of our Chocolate and Beer pairings from our Brewers Fest presentation, we move on to the next coupling in terms of going from light to dark. When hosting a tasting, you always want to increase in intensity so as not to overload the palette too early. This holds true whether it’s beer, chocolate or even coffee. So, the next chocolate and beer pairing is:

Pairing #2
Orlio Organic Beer Company Common Ale (5.0% ABV) and our Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds (54% cocoa content)

This combination is perfect for those doubting Thomases out there who are apprehensive about the idea of pairing beer with chocolate. Of course you have some sweet with the chocolate but it’s a dark chocolate and nuts so you also have a little bitterness, some salt and a nice nutty flavor.

The light-to-medium body of this Vermont-made golden ale starts with a creamy malt but moves to a clean but not overpowering hoppy finish which makes it a perfect partner to the dark chocolate covered roasted almonds. The almondy roast and light salty flavors mix with the bitterness of the dark chocolate and complement the malt and hops of the ale. There’s just enough savory to balance the sweet in this chocolate and set off the beer nicely.

This combination can easily be recreated at home with any true golden ale or even a Steam Ale or a California Common Ale if you’re unable to get your hands on this particular beer. And if you can’t find our dark chocolate almonds, try your local Whole Foods Market where you can get your hands on our Dark Almond Chocolate Bar. It may not be the exact same experience but the dark chocolate is 54% cocoa content as well so it won’t be that far off.

Bottoms up!

This is the first in a series of beer and chocolate pairings that we have explored over the years. You can find more chocolate and beer pairings here.

Earlier I wrote about our in-house chocolate and beer pairings done in preparation for the Brewers Fest held last weekend in Burlington. In the end, five beers were paired with five chocolates and presented in a SRO tasting session at the Vermont Brewers Festival.  Each combination was specifically designed to bring out the best features of each and tasters were asked to first sample the chocolate and then follow with the beer. Since I know all of you are extremely curious to know what went with what, I will feature each different pairing in upcoming blogs. Armed with this info, perhaps you can host your own chocolate and beer pairing, maybe even find some new combinations.

Pairing #1 –
Vermont Pub & Brewery’s Forbidden Fruit (6.0% ABV) and our Dark Chocolate Honey Caramel (54% cocoa content)

VPB’s Forbidden Fruit features an incredible raspberry flavor in its profile. So incredible, in fact, you’d expect to find raspberry seeds. It’s a great combination of bitter, tangy and sweet which pairs perfectly with the Honey Caramel in 54% dark chocolate.

The sweetness of the Honey Caramel plays off the bitterness of the beer, setting up the tanginess of the raspberries to an even higher level of flavor. Once the beer is gone, the aftertaste you’re left with is a light combination of bitter from both the beer and the dark chocolate as well as the clean flavor of the chocolate itself. Some describe elements of our dark chocolate as having a “Baked brownie” taste (you know, the parts of the brownie around the edge of the pan that are well done) and that flavor is very apparent at the finish of this pairing. Truly delicious.

Looking for other beer and chocolate pairings? You can find more of our suggestions here.

What's up with the chocolate and beer?!

Posted on June 23, 2008 1:53 PM by Admin

File this under just another kooky thing we get to do here sometimes. OK. Friday was a company holiday for us (Thank you Jim!!) so Thursday was effectively Friday. Excellent. On my way out the door, Gary – our Retail Sales Director – asked if I had a second to help with something he was working on. Sure, I wanted to begin my three-day weekend and all but listen, he had a tray of chocolate and some beer in his hand. My curiosity was piqued.

So, we headed back to the break room where we often do some of our product tastings internally. There were a couple other people there already waiting to assist in this project. Apparently, Gary was looking for tasters and flavor panel people to help him with beer and chocolate pairings. Yup, you read correctly. Beer and chocolate. Move over wine, there’s a new player at the table looking to shack up with chocolate. My curiosity was now beyond piqued. I was totally bought in but a little scared as to how this was going to work.

Well, I shouldn’t tell you what brand of beer we were working with (Wolaver’s and Otter Creek this time around) or the exact flavors as it’s still a “work in progress” but I can tell you I was totally and pleasantly surprised. I never would have put beer and chocolate together in a million years but there were some really tasty pairings. Sure, you can put a chocolate-covered salty nut with nearly any beer but we didn’t stop there. We went to truffles, we went to chocolate-covered fruit. We even went to spicy chocolate. And it was wonderful.

Where are we going with this? That I don’t know just yet but Gary just stopped by my desk to ask for more assistance with the beer and chocolate. Am I in? You bet I’m in. Next time you’re sitting around with some chocolate on your coffee table and some beer in your fridge, why not give it a go?! What’s the worst that can happen?