(This is an article we were asked to write for chester.com – cross-posted here also)
With Easter just around the corner a few of us may already have stocked up with a load of glorious chocolate, and why not! Tis the season to indulge in the sweeter things in life. Traditionally, tis may not have been the season for beer connoisseurs or ale lovers but there is no reason why you can’t enjoy your favourite tipple with some coco on the side.
Pairing beer with any consumable is not rocket science, and as much as personal taste dictates what beers you like, it will take lead on what you want your beer to be paired with as well. There aren’t any universal truths that cannot be shattered, and in fact, going against the grain and trying new things may be the best way to go about matching your beer with any grub imaginable. Sometimes, going for a contrast instead of matching works like a treat.
That being said, there is no harm in trekking the path often taken, and trying those traditional beer matches before throwing caution in the wind.
Darker beers like porters or stouts tend to pair well with milk chocolate, as they already have an element of chocolate flavour. The sweetness of the milk chocolate emphasises the roasted, malty backbone of the stout and allows for a creamy finish. Try Marble Brewery’s 125 Imperial Stout or Irish Stout from Blueball Brewery for that local touch.
Dark chocolate on the other hand can swing both ways: it pairs beautifully with Belgiam Dubbels, like Westmalle, or equally well with a crisp and light wheat beer, like Hitachino Nest White Ale from Kiuchi Brewery. On one hand the not too obvious intensity of the Belgian dubbel complements the bitterness of the dark chocolate, on the other the sharp and airy wheat beer offers a beautiful contrast to the rich and dark delight.
For truffels, try a sharp kriek, a Belgian fruit beer, for example from Cantillon Brewery. The darker chocolate cover and ganache filling beautifully picks up the cherry notes in the beer for a pairing that’s subtle and unexpected.
And even if you’re not a fan of white chocolate, try pairing it with Cloudwater Brewery’s Seville Orange Sour for an exceptional, citrussy lift – while soothing the almost sickly sweet finish of the chocolate with sour and bitter notes.
Chocolate season is no reason to miss out on trying new beers, so head to your local today armed with your favourite Easter choccy to pair it with your top tipples. But beware; it may start a new love affair with both.