Chocolate and Beer

Learn how to put together a tasty pair yourself.



As Rex Halfpenny introduced the idea of pairing artisan beers with gourmet chocolates at the Epicurean Classic in Traverse City, Michigan, an audience member remarked, "Why don't people know this?"

"We are not talking about light beer and M&Ms here," says Halfpenny, publisher of the Michigan Beer Guide and a certified beer judge. He presented the idea of eating high-cocoa-content chocolates with a swig of good beer at the 2007 northern Michigan culinary extravaganza.

For five years, Halfpenny has presented beer and chocolate seminars throughout Michigan, to the tune of 100 people audiences. Read on to learn how Halfpenny became the guru of what beer matches what chocolateand how to put together a tasty pair yourself.


 

Wine Enthusiast: How did you put beer and chocolate together in the first place?

Rex Halfpenny: The idea came from a beer writer in Oregon, Fred Eckert. He did a tasting in Frankenmuth, Michigan, called Taste of the Great Lakes, [where he served] beer with candy. We enjoyed it, but we were amazed with his last pairing, Bells Expedition Stout with Stroh's vanilla ice cream. Everybody in the room was like, "Beer and ice cream?" And the whole room went quiet because everybody was amazed at what a great combination it was.

WE: How did you make the leap to chocolate?

RH: I started investigatingonly I elevated it. We do craft-brewed, higher-end beers, so I sought higher-end chocolate, higher-cocoa content, cocoa butter.

WE: How do you know which chocolates go with which beers?

RH: Look at stouts and portersthey have roasted flavors like chocolate or coffee. We use that as a stepping stone, a take-off point. For example, a Belgian Triple, which has citrusy-orangey flavors, [with] Green & Black's Maya Gold. It's spiced, chili spices and orange flavors.

WE: How can someone get started?

RH: Go out and find a variety of high-end chocolates and then get a variety of craft and imported beers. Sit down with friends and mix and match and discover.

WE: What about people who already know a lot about beer or chocolate or both?

RH: Pair crisper, lighter beers with candy [and] lighter chocolates. Work your way up [to] darker chocolates and robust, fully-flavored beers.

WE: Can you suggest some good pairings?

RH: With hoppy beers, use spicy chocolates. Rogue Brewery's hazelnut brown ale with hazelnut or crème brûlée chocolates. Porter is good with milk chocolate. Stout has coffee flavors; get chocolate-covered coffee beans. Another good pairing is chocolate-covered caramels with an Oktoberfest beer.

 

More Online Exclusive articles:

 

Edit Module
Edit Module

Related Articles

2012 California Pinot Noir: A Year of Plenty

California’s 2012 vintage was almost too easy. Our West Coast editors weigh in on the best Pinot Noirs of the year.

7 Soul-Warming Stouts

There’s little to compare with the satisfaction that a good, strong stout offers on a chilly day.

46 Top Rated Champagne and Sparkling Wines

The holiday season signals one thing: Time to break out the bubbles.

Top Cellar Selections 2014

The year’s best collectible wines.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Subscribe

You can unsubscribe at any time. View an example of our newsletter.

Edit Module

Shop

Edit Module
>
Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit Module

Related Web Articles