Ultimate 6er | National Bittersweet Chocolate Day Beer Pairings
National Bittersweet Chocolate Day came and went this past January 10. Were you aware of this national holiday? No? Tragic. Fear not, however, for it is never too late to take part in the celebration with your favorite confectionery.
Risking my waistline in the name of experimentation, I indulged in pairing flavorful beer with some decadent chocolates to determine the ultimate dessert pairing. I must say, this was quite the delicious task. For the men out there who are preemptively contemplating Valentine’s Day ideas (which I’m sure is a grand total of three guys), may I suggest including a beer and chocolate pairing as part of your Valentine’s night repertoire? No beer-loving girl in her right mind will turn this down. Promise.
Bourbon Barrel Barleywine | Central Waters Brewing Co.
Brewer’s Reserve Barleywine Ale | ABV: 11.5%
Winner of the Gold Medal in 2008 at the Great American Beer Festival, Central Waters’ Bourbon Barrel Barleywine has rich flavors of currants, prunes and caramel. This American-style Barleywine ale has a beautiful deep amber hue, the aromatic notes of sweet bourbon linger long after the initial pour. The ale is sweet from beginning to end and there is a lasting alcoholic heat, from the bourbon barrel-aging, that lingers in your chest. Rich and full-bodied, this is the perfect ale to set into your reserves for another snowy day.
Pair This With: Sea Salt Milk Chocolate Truffles
Every moment with this decadent treat is pure bliss. Each bite begins with the ever-anticipated crunch of the salt and is quickly followed by the smooth creaminess of the soft truffle innards. Pour your Central Water’s Barleywine into a snifter and unwrap some of these delicious treats for the perfect dessert.
Abbey Dubbel | Flying Fish Brewing Co.
Belgian-Style Abbey Dubbel | ABV: 7.2%
We continue our list with the winner of the silver medal at the 2008 Great American Beer Festival, Flying Fish’s Belgian-style Abbey Dubbel. Medium-bodied, this dubbel has many flavors that weave together to create a complex flavor. Aromas of plums, caramel, almonds, and raisins linger with every sip. The flavor is a combination of brown sugar, orange, ginger, white pepper, cloves, raisins, chocolate, red apples, vanilla, and nuts. Malty in the middle the abbey dubbel gives off a delightfully welcome alcoholic warmth.
Pair This With: Slow-Cooker Fudge with Salt
If you have a slow cooker, you are in luck. Caution: Please wait until the decadent fudginess is COOL before indulging in the sweet treat! (It is so hard to resist, I know!) Flying Fish’s Abbey Dubbel pairs perfectly with many dishes, but the simplest desserts are always the sweetest.
Bourbon Barrel Quad | Boulevard Brewing Co.
Whiskey Barrel-Aged Belgian-Style Dark Strong Ale | ABV: 11.2%
The strong bourbon flavor is apparent in this abbey-style quadrupel. This quad is separated into a number of oak bourbon barrels upwards of three years.There is no apparent Belgian yeastiness within the beer, rather subtle tart cherry notes on the tongue and toffee and vanilla notes remaining on the palate.
Pair With: 70% Cacao Chocolate
For such a commanding quadrupel, you will need a dessert to match the bold flavors. 70% full-bodied dark chocolate is neither bitter nor overpowering. Smooth and indulgent, every note of cherry and bourbon in the quad will shine with each dry, yet sweet chocolatey bite.
Flemish Sour Ale | Monk’s Cafe
Sour Ale | ABV: 5.5%
This is a phenomenal ale! Monk’s Cafe in Philadelphia, PA had this ale brewed for their private label by the family-owned Van Steenberge brewery, just outside of Ghent, Belgium. This is a delightfully mildly tart sour ale with a medium body and beautiful reddish brown hue. The aroma is a very sweet, almost candy-like smell with hints of berries. Light bodied with a bit of sweet and sour cherries and raisin flavors on the tongue.
Pair With: Chocolate Cocoa Nibs
You know you have snuck a nib when making cookies, don’t kid yourself! Well, now you will have a beverage to pair with your future cookie baking! Very refreshing and tart, this flemish ale will balance the dry and slightly sweet chocolate nibs.
Obsidian Stout | Deschutes Brewery
American Stout | ABV: 6.4%
Deeply robust, Deschutes Obsidian has distinct notes of espresso, chocolate, roasted malt and black barley, with just enough hop bite to cut the sweetness. The aroma is dripping with notes of fresh roasted coffee and chocolate! Pouring a beautiful dark tan color, this beer had a slight hoppy bitterness.
Pair With: Cappuccino Truffles
What is better than a stout with strong hints of espresso? Chocolate that tastes like you dipped it in French Roast. Warning: this combination could be just the evening jolt of energy you need to power through your Netflix movie marathon!
Insanity | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Ale Aged in Oak Barrels | ABV: 11.1%
The aged variation of Blithering Idiot, Weyerbacher’s Insanity is an ale aged in oak barrels that add a level of complexity to an already intense malt profile by adding a combination of vanilla, oak and whiskey notes. The aroma is that of bourbon and heavy with dark fruits. The lingering vanilla notes fill the mouth with smooth full-bodied flavors.
Pair With: Caramel-filled Chewy Chocolate
Accompany your barrel-aged treat with luscious caramel filled dark chocolate. Bite into a square for an intense chocolate treat, whose flavors exquisitely complement the perfectly aged ale.