Not sure if you’ve noticed all the seasonal stuff at your local stores or the leaves falling off the trees but Halloween is just around the corner. (Also, there’s just a few months left of 2020! Yay!) and with Halloween coming, there’s lots of candies to be had. I’ve got a major sweet tooth and love beer, so why not combine them?!
I’m not sure that there is a wrong pairing when it comes to beer and candy but here are some suggestions that will get you on the right track:
Amber ales have a characteristic caramel malty sweetness going on. Pair amber ales with something that also has that caramel flavour. Try milk duds, twix or even just some of those little square caramels.
Stouts are a natural pairing for chocolates but you’ll want to be conscious of the flavours that the stout brings with it, especially if it’s an imperial stout. If the stout has some kind of nut component, try to highlight those flavours: snickers or peanut butter cups could work. If it’s a coconut stout, try mounds. Some imperial stouts have a black liquorice element that could be highlighted by goodies.
Sometimes you need a contrasting flavour to pair with a beer, two big bold flavours to compete and highlight each others’ strengths. Enter the IPA and sour candies. As big and bold as some IPAs can get, the sour candies can fight back, going back and forth with the beer to provide your palate with a taste sensation.
Often, kettle sours are fermented with various fruits to create a fruity and tart beer, why not pair a classic, unfruited kettle sour with starburst fruit chews? You’re adding the fruit element, just outside the glass, plus each sip of beer can be with a different fruit flavour!
Brown ales, similar to stouts pair well with chocolate, but since the brown ale isn’t so bold and chocolatey as a stout, there are other flavour elements at play. Brown ales pair well with chocolates with nuts. Try a snickers, peanut m&ms, peanut butter cups or anything of the like.
Often times, when you go to the bar and get a pint of Belgian Wit, they’ll put a slice of orange on the rim of the glass. Love it or loathe it, there is a reason for the fruity garnish. The orange slice highlights the flavours in the beer, including the orange zest typically used in this style. Now, which candy could you pair with it? How about orange jelly beans? Even better: make sure they’re jelly belly brand.
This one is easy! Candy Corn! The best way to enjoy a cream ale with candy corn is to drink the cream ale and throw away the candy corn.
Let me know if you try pairing your beer with candy and what your favourite pairings were. Or, if you have any questions that you’d like me to tackle for a future mash out column, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
See ya next month!
Photo credit: Dan Kosmayer / Shutterstock