On November 15th The Beer Boutique Wandsworth had an evening of tasting chocolate and beer. Many on the night came for the beer and many came for the chocolates, and some even came our of sheer curiosity of how these flavours were going to work together. I like to believe that I saw some lights turn on that night. Beer tasting is so much more than just a good food match; it’s a chance to change the composition of flavours, to bring back old memories, create entirely new possibilities and enhance the ones we already know. So jumping right in here is the what, why and how of the evenings pairings.
Firstly a big thank you to everyone who cam and opened their minds and mouths, and to Doisy and Dam for their wonderfully unique chocolates.
Chocolate: lemon, poppy seed & baobab white chocolate.
Beer: Rothaus Hefeweizen
Having spent half of my legal drinking period in the United States I have fallen in love the putting a slice of lemon into my wheat beer. The lemon adds acidity to the sweet glutinous wheat, and lightens up what many see as a naturally heavy beer. In this case the lemon chocolate took the place of the natural slice and added a spark to the incredibly smooth as always Rothaus Hefewiezen.
Chocolate: goji & orange dark chocolate
Beer: Brooklyn Sorachi Ace
Chocolate: quinoa, smoked tea & vanilla milk chocolate
Beer: Weird Beard Smoke
Easy, a classic Rauchbier pulls out the hints of smoked tea in the chocolate, whilst the creaminess of the milk chocolate coats the tongue and makes smoked beer palatable to even the newest of beer drinkers. For anyone who’s ever wanted to try bacon and chocolate this is the more sophisticated combination you’ve been looking for.
Chocolate: coffee & sprouted buckwheat
Beer: Liefmans Kriek Brut
Bear with me. If you’ve ever seen Ratatouille and the scene where Anton Ego finally tastes the dish and is transported to his childhood. Well this coffee chocolate did that to me It took me to winter in Finland, family, warm interiors, the best desserts in the world, and lots and lots of black coffee – pause for the aww that rang through the group. So we had coffee and cherry pie together. Need I say more.
Chocolate: maple, toasted rice & pink salt
Beer: Magic Rock Salty Kiss
The palate cleanser of the evening, this chocolate as a beautiful maple taste that comes in right before you finish your piece. I wanted to play with the flavour to see if we could bring the sensation forward in time with the salty beer creating a salted caramel feel. The beer was also a lovely refresher after so much decedent milk chocolate.
Chocolate: maca, vanilla & cacao nibs
Beer: Sam Smith’s Taddy Porter
I’ve had people tell me they have dark chocolate and I’ve had people tell me they hate porters. Both change their mind when putting to the two together. A porter really does bring down the bitterness of a dark chocolate and a dark chocolate adds a creamy texture to the typically thinner dark beer. You are left with a flavour that is somewhat of a chocolate stout. This combination works every time and I will never stop using it in tastings.
Perhaps you’re brave enough to explore your own tasting matches now, remember you only know what not to do if you do everything first. There are no wrong ideas.