Gail with friend Russ Carter, who hosts an annual beer/chocolate pairing at the shop.
A couple of weeks ago, we had our third annual Holiday Beer & Chocolate Pairing at Ale Asylum. I always have a blast working with brewer Otto Dilba. We’re lucky to have so many craft brewers in our area. They put the same love and attention into their brews as I do into my chocolate so it’s not surprising that they pair so well together.
Looking for a fresh idea for New Year’s Eve or a winter party? Try your own tasting party. Part of the fun is just experimenting, but here are a few tips to get you started:
- Caramel usually goes well with malty or caramelized beers or try contrasting with a hoppy beer.
- Pair something fruity or spicy with Belgian-style ales—it can bring out the ale’s fruit notes.
- Spice is showing up more often in craft beers such as some of the Belgian-style ales. It’s an interesting interplay with the more savory chocolates, such as our Shiitake Truffle.
- Stouts and porters can stand up to high cocoa-percentage chocolate. They also pair well with bold coffee flavors or something with a bit of heat, such as our Cinnamon/Cayenne truffle.
- Some of the bourbon-barrel stouts are great with big fruit flavors such as blueberry, cherry and raspberry. The tartness can balance some of the stout’s strong bourbon and vanilla flavors.
- American pale ales (APA) are more enjoyable when paired with strong flavors, such as our Lemongrass with Ginger truffle. The interplay adds a layer of depth.
Here are a few pairing ideas for our chocolates with Ale Asylum and Furthermore brews:
Ale Asylum Tripel Nova with Cointreau truffle: This Belgian style Tripel has a touch of sweetness. The light fruitiness of Cointreau brings out the beer’s crisp finish.
Furthermore Three Feet Deep with Blueberry truffle: Earthy Peruvian chocolate, blended with blueberries, coaxes out the round, earthy quality of peat-smoke in this dry Irish-inspired stout.
Ale Asylum Diablo with Shiitake truffle: This Belgian Dubbel ale has dark caramel aromas with a wicked, warming finish that pairs beautifully with the rich, earthy flavor of dried shiitake steeped in cream and enveloped in dark chocolate.
Furthermore ThermoRefur with Caramel or Raspberry truffle: This sour ale is made with organic red beets, black pepper and five yeasts. Our Caramel with Grey Salt is a fun contrast to the beer’s pepper. The Raspberry complements the fruity flavor that beets lend to the beer.
Ale Asylum Satisfaction Jacksin with Caramel with Grey Salt: Caramel’s sweetness tames the bitterness of this double India pale ale (IPA). The salt makes the flavors pop.
Furthermore Knot Stock with Lemongrass with Ginger truffle: The truffle’s big tropical flavors and this American Pal Ale’s (APA) pepper and caramel malt bring out the best in each other.
Ale Asylum Hopalicious: Our tart cranberry truffle accents this APA’s lush citrus aroma and bold hop flavor.
This is just a few ideas to get you started. Get out and experiment! If you discover a great combination, we’d love to hear about it.