Beer and Chocolate Tasting Basics
For each course, first sip the beer, then nibble the chocolate afterwards. Don’t overwhelm the one with the other.
The tasting itself is simple to do. The chocolate pieces (small amounts of 1/2 to 1 1/2 ounces) are distributed. Each person gets about 4 ounces of beer (1/3 of a 12-ounce bottle). While this goes on, the presenter can describe the combination and also answer questions. The presenter can read, from time to time, two or three “Rules of Chocolate” (see box).
The whole thing is great fun and far easier than one might think. Most of these beer types go well with most chocolate types. Relax, it is easy to manage.
Eight to ten beers are a goodly number. It would be nice if the chocolate servings include some homemade items. That’s a great way to involve participants. Almost every family has a chocolate chip cookie or brownie recipe, and finding folks who enjoy making them is relatively easy. It is even better when you can hook up with a good chocolate company to get a far more interesting (and expensive) chocolate array.
Suggested Beers and Chocolates
1. Start with a low-key, craft-brewed American lager, golden ale, Munich-style lager, American-style wheat beer, or English bitter.
Chocolate: A small chocolate chip cookie. Chocolate chip cookies may really be the chocolate to go with any beer. As noted earlier, homemade is best.
2. An English-style pale ale (not too hoppy, mind you) or amber ale.
Chocolate: Peanut butter cup or truffle.
3. Any good brown ale, mild, or Munich dark lager.
Chocolate: Orange or raspberry flavored chocolate bar. (Serve only about 2 squares per person).
4. Any good black lager or German-style schwartzbier, or maybe a low-powered English-style porter.
Chocolate: Chocolate brownie. Another good combination. Cut the average-sized brownie into two, or even four, pieces.
5. Steam beer, German-style altbier, California common beer, or German-style brown ale.
Chocolate: Hershey’s Symphony bar, which is milk chocolate and almond flakes. It readily matches with most beer types.
6. A nice Belgian fruit lambic, such as Liefmans Frambozen, Kriek or Peche.
Chocolate: Milk chocolate or chocolate filled with cherries, raspberries or peaches, depending on the beer.
7. Mackeson Stout (or any milk stout) goes well with any chocolate.
Chocolate: Bittersweet or semi-sweet dark chocolate.
8. A nice “old ale” would be good about here, 6 to 7 percent ABV if possible.
Chocolate: This beer needs a well-made truffle or some such fine quality commercial (or homemade) truffle (see recipe box).
9. A good strong barley wine, or Belgian quadruple, something in the 10 percent ABV range.
Chocolate: Pepper fudge as described earlier (see recipe box).
10. Any good dry stout.
Chocolate: The Grand Finale: a stout float. The original stout float was with a chocolate brownie piece and vanilla ice cream, served with Guinness. You can probably find better, now that Guinness is owned by a South African company. The brownie piece (small, 1 inch square) is placed in a small cup, topped with a small scoop of ice cream (about 1 1/2 ounces). The beer (1/3 bottle) is served in a separate cup. Each person has the option of eating/drinking them separately. Everyone should have a spoon to help manage this combination.
Another good finale is to use Belgian Chimay Blue Label and coffee-flavored ice cream, in which case, skip the brownies.
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