Some things just work well together; mac and cheese, bacon and eggs… chocolate and beer?! We recently had a staff chocolate and beer pairing pk session with our chocolate guru Eagranie Yuh - not a bad start to the day! It’s fair to say there was mixed results; some totally went together, whereas others weren’t such a good match! Of course there are individual preferences (as we discovered!), but there are some general guidelines Eagranie shared with us, to pass onto you…
- In the context of pairing with chocolate, beer has a lot going for it. It’s less acidic than wine and has more in common with chocolate than you would think.
- Beer can basically be characterized in four ways: Hoppiness / Roast / Body / Booziness.
- The ideal beer for pairing with chocolate is low in hops, high in roast, of medium or full body, and between 4-6% alcohol. This is typically a porter or brown ale.
- Logically, the worst beer for pairing with chocolate is high in hops, low in roast, low-bodied and high in alcohol, such as an IPA. There is a notable exception: there can be distinctive fruit flavours in hoppy beers - if you can match them up with a similar chocolate, it makes for an excellent pairing.
- Falling in the middle are lagers/pilsners and hefeweizens. Treat these on a case-by-case basis. Lagers and pilsners tend to be a bit crisper and lighter in body, so while they won’t be a phenomenal pairing, it’s unlikely to be terrible. Hefeweizens have a full-bodied creaminess and often a banana or citrus note. They can pair nicely with milk chocolates.
Remember, take all of these suggestions with a grain of salt, as they will depend on the exact beer that's paired. Worst-case scenario, enjoy the beer and the chocolate separately!
Why not organise a fun tasting session for family and friends, and try out different pairings for yourself. Here's some suggestions to get you started...
- IPA: Dick Taylor Black Fig
- Stout: Original Beans Grand Cru No. 1
- Lager: Rozsavolgyi Caranero
- Pilsner: Askinosie Ecuador
- Saison: Esmereldas Milk