Pairing Beer & Chocolate

The first annual Burlington Beer Festival is coming up quickly (July 18th – 20th) and we’ve got Craft Beer on the mind!

Burlington Beer Festival | Christy's Gourmet Gifts Though Bernie loves experimenting with pairing our Brittle to local Craft Beers, he is always drawn back to chocolate – after all, he is a Master Chocolatier!

This week at the shop, we did some taste-testing and pairing with Craft Beer and Belgian Chocolate (is this really a job?!) and decided we should share our findings with all our fellow beer and chocolate enthusiasts!

Bernie - Master Chocolatier | Christy's Gourmet Gifts

We hope Bernie’s tips inspire you to do some pairings and tastings at home!

The rules of pairing are simple:

  1. Find and match flavours that taste great together
  2. Pair high-end with high-end and inexpensive with inexpensive
  3. There are no rules on what is right or wrong, it’s all about taste!
  4. Have fun!

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White Chocolate: White Chocolate is generally made with cocoa butter and includes no cocoa mass.  White chocolate may have the following flavour notes: cream, milk, honey, vanilla, caramel and/or fruit.

Belgian White Chocolate Callets | Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Pairing Chocolate and Beer

For pairing, we suggest lighter craft beers with subtle citrus undertones.  Brews with fruit, honey or vanilla flavours will pair nicely and won’t overpower the sweetness of the white chocolate.

Pairing Suggestions:  North American Light Lager, North American Lager, German Style Wheat Beer, Belgian Style Wheat Beer, Cream Ales, Fruit Beer, Ciders, Pilsner

Examples:  Nickel Brook – Green Apple Pilsner

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Milk Chocolate:  Milk Chocolate is generally made with cocoa butter, milk and 35%-45% cocoa mass.  Milk chocolate may have the following flavour notes: brown sugar, milk, cream, vanilla, honey, caramel, nuttiness, coffee and or malt.

Belgian Milk Chocolate Callets | Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Pairing Chocolate and Beer

For pairing, we suggest a medium strength craft beer which will work in harmony with the sweetness of the milk chocolate. Brews with brown sugar, caramel, coffee and nutty undertones are the best bet.

Pairing Suggestions:  Amber Lager, European Style Lager, Honey/Maple, Cream Ales, British Pale Ales, North American Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, Amber Ale, Porter

Examples: Nickel Brook – Maple Porter, Nickel Brook – Cuvee Ale 

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Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate is generally made with cocoa butter and greater than 55 % of cocoa mass.  It has a strong flavour with a good balance of sugar but is not too sweet. Dark chocolate may have the following flavour notes: nutty, spicy, smoke, coffee and/or earthy notes with hints of cherry and caramel.

Belgian Dark Chocolate Callets | Christy's Gourmet Gifts | Pairing Chocolate and Beer

For pairing, we suggest a darker craft beer which will complement the bitterness or strong flavour of the semisweet chocolate. Brews with nutty, spicy or earthy notes are the best bet.

Pairing Suggestions: Dark Lager, Bock, North American Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, Dark Ale, Porter, Stout, Strong Beer

Examples: Nickel Brook – Bolshevik Bastard Imperial Stout, Nickel Brook – Old Kentucky Bastard Imperial Stout 

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Are you interested in a private beer and chocolate tasting? We would love to hear from you!  Our Master Chocolatier is always interested in working with local craft breweries.

Contact us at: sales@christysgourmetgifts.com

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To read more about Chocolate and Beer Pairings, visit these links:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/07/28/beer-types-decoding-different-beers_n_1711279.html

http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/chocolate/flavors.asp

www.mynslc.com/Content_MarketingPages/Content_Beer/Content_BeerAppreciation/Beer Pairings/BeerandChocolate.aspx

http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/983087/how-to-pair-chocolate-with-beer

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