When you think of pairing beverages with chocolate, wine might be the first thing that comes to mind. However, have you ever considered the delightful union of beer and chocolate?

The concept might sound unconventional at first, but this harmonious pairing can create an experience that tantalizes your taste buds and ignites your senses. I had the privilege of sitting down with Cheryl Cade, a beer sommelier at The Thirst Consultants, as we explored the enchanting world of beer and chocolate pairing.

A Fusion of Flavours and Aromas

Just as fine wine carries a tapestry of subtle flavors and aromas, so does exquisite chocolate. The recent surge in craft beers and artisanal chocolates has provided an exciting opportunity to explore the synergy between these two beloved indulgences. The beauty of beer and chocolate pairing lies in their versatility—both have the capacity to complement an array of flavors and characteristics, opening doors to a vast realm of delicious possibilities and culinary inspirations.

Navigating the Complexities

Pairing beer with cheese or wine with chocolate may sound straightforward, but the challenge intensifies when it comes to combining beer and chocolate. Chocolate boasts a staggering 1500 aromas, while beer possesses a more manageable yet potent range of flavours. This intricate dance requires an understanding of how these flavors interact and play off each other.

The Art of Tasting Together

The process of tasting beer and chocolate together involves mastering the sensory analysis of both components. Start by sampling each individually to acclimate your palate to their distinct aromas. However, a couple of hurdles need to be addressed.

Firstly, chocolate and water are not the best companions—the chocolate seizes, leading to an undesirable texture.

Secondly, beer is typically served at a colder temperature, which can numb our taste buds and hinder the tasting experience.

To overcome these challenges, a technique emerges: place a piece of chocolate in your mouth and allow it to melt, incorporating your saliva.

This warm liquid infusion prevents the chocolate from seizing when introduced to the colder beer.

Swirl the mixture in your mouth, savouring the intricate dance of flavours and textures before swallowing.

Wait a few seconds before cleansing your palate with a small sip of beer.

Pairing Magic Unveiled

The rule of thumb when pairing is to find elements that complement and enhance one another. With chocolate and beer, the same principle applies. Let's explore some exciting pairing ideas:

1. Inexpensive Pairing: For mass-produced beers, opt for inexpensive chocolates that can stand up to the beer's saltiness and diffuse flavours. Think about the delightful balance found in salted caramel chocolate.

2. Dark Beers: Porters and stouts often carry chocolate or espresso notes due to their roasted barley base. These beers harmonise well with chocolates featuring higher cocoa percentages, enhancing their bitterness and depth.

3. Bitter Ales: Bitter ales, such as IPAs, can be balanced with chocolates ranging from 50 to 70 percent cacao. The chocolate's sweetness counters the beer's bitterness, allowing both to shine.

4. Lagers and Pilsners: Pairing with these lighter beers is about personal preference and experimentation. Chocolates with around 50 percent cacao are a safe bet, providing a versatile canvas for various beer profiles.

5. White Ales: When pairing with citrusy white ales, steer clear of overly acidic chocolates. Instead, seek out chocolates with citrus or orange peel notes to create a harmonious blend.

6. Fruit Beers: Belgian fruit Lambics, like framboise and kriek, marry beautifully with chocolate-covered fruit or molten chocolate cake. Opt for chocolates that echo the fruitiness of the beer.

7. Weizens and Saisons: German wheat beers and Belgian strong ales carry flavors like banana, clove, apple, and apricot. A 38% milk chocolate complements these nuanced profiles.

A Symphony of Senses

In the realm of culinary arts, beer and chocolate pairing offers a symphony of tastes, textures, and aromas that elevate the experience to new heights.

As the craft beer and chocolate scenes continue to evolve, so does the potential for astonishing combinations that excite the palate and delight the soul.

So, the next time you're sipping a flavorful beer and savoring a delectable piece of chocolate, remember that this dynamic duo is more than just a treat—it's a match made in heaven, waiting to awaken your senses in ways you never thought possible

Fancy organing your own tasting for friends or as a fundraiser Look here

Try some of my recipes using beer and chocolate


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