Friday Food Pairing: Beer and Chocolate

In honor of Valentine’s Day, our weekly food pairing features several different beer and chocolate pairings! If you don’t have a date tomorrow (or, even if you do), we highly recommend inviting these heartthrobs to join your evening.

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Pairing #1:
Founders Porter

with
Ritter Sport Milk Chocolate & Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups 

Ed invited me over for a delicious Moroccan stew on Tuesday night, and I brought this pairing for dessert! The Founders Porter is light-medium bodied (Ed says light), with notes of cocoa and roasted malt, and a slight smokiness.

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I preferred the porter with Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups. I really liked the way the nuttiness of the beer meshed with the silky, nutty, peanut butter. Ed found that it paired better with Ritter Milk Chocolate, though, because it was more of a contrast. He liked that the pure, sweet, buttery flavor of the chocolate melted into the nutty, malty porter. Regardless, both were excellent pairings. In each case, neither component overwhelmed the other.

Hard at work taking notes. Beer tasting isn't all fun and games!
Hard at work taking notes. Beer tasting isn’t all fun and games!

Pairing #2:
Uinta Anniversary Barley Wine Ale

with
Ritter Sport Milk Chocolate with Whole Hazlenuts &
Dagoba Bittersweet Dark Chocolate

Reppin' City Swiggers all day every day
Reppin’ City Swiggers all day every day

Last night Ed and I tried Uinta’s Anniversary Barley Wine Ale with Ritter Sport Milk Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts and Dagoba Bittersweet Dark Chocolate.

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Uinta’s barleywine has a ton of sweet hops on the nose; it basically smells like a DIPA to me! It’s medium bodied and has an initial sweetness followed by a wave of hops. Ed also picked up on some citrus. I made sure to let the beer warm a bit before serving, so we could fully distinguish all the flavors.

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We agreed that the dark chocolate was a better pairing. A beer this intense needs a powerful, bitter chocolate to stand up to it. While the bites of Ritter that actually contained whole hazelnuts were able to hold their own, the milk chocolate just wasn’t a strong enough flavor. That being said, I still prefer barleywine with a stanky blue cheese over chocolate. I like the contrast of tang and hops better than the complementary merging of bittersweet and hoppy/sweet. Now, over to Maddy!

Last night I invited some friends over to help me with the delicious task of drinking the Hardywood Raspberry Stout and a bourbon barrel aged 72 Imperial Chocolate Cream Stout from Breckenridge. We started the tasting with Hardywood’s offering and Cards Against Humanity!

ras sto

Pairing #3:
Hardywood Raspberry Stout 

with
Lindt Classic Recipe White Chocolate &
Ghirardelli Intense Dark

Despite the creamy mouthfeel (and 9.2% ABV) of the Raspberry Stout, this brew is actually quite light bodied. It pours dark brown with a thin, foamy head. Hardywood tries to use locally-sourced ingredients in their fancy bomber series, which I think leads to the intense raspberry aroma. Mmmm, mama likes. We paired the Raspberry Stout with white AND dark chocolate. I wanted to see if the intense sweet from the white chocolate complemented the slightly tart raspberry in the beer, and it totally did! It was like white chocolate raspberry cheesecake heaven. We were blown. The dark chocolate was a decent match with our first brew, but the bitterness was just a tad harsh for how lightly flavored the beer was.

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Pairing #4:
Breckenridge Barrel Aged 72 Imperial Chocolate Cream Stout  

with
Lindt Caramel with a Touch of Sea Salt 

Next we moved onto Breckenridge’s 72 Imperial Chocolate Cream Stout aged in bourbon barrels. I had this beer on tap last Friday at Barrel Chest, a fantastic beer store in Roanoke. It was so damn good, I bought a bottle right then and there for the upcoming chocolate tasting. Because I knew this brew was on the sweeter side, I chose a salted caramel dark chocolate in an attempt to cut the sweetness. This was hands down the winner of our tasting. 72’s rich and silky body combines with a toasty, slightly sweet booziness to create heaven in a damn glass. Notes of toffee and milk chocolate, with just a hint of bourbon, make this brew highly drinkable. The chocolate ended up pairing swimmingly with the 72. It’s the salty-sweet combo, peeps; you just can’t beat it.

72 imp

cards against

All in all, I would say 2015’s Valentine’s Day tasting was a success! Cheers to love and beer!

p.s. If you need a last minute gift for the beer lover in your life, check out our post from Valentine’s Day of last year! It has a whole list of beer-themed presents that are sure to please your hop hunny.

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