People often associate chocolate with wine, but we’ve always found that beer and chocolate are much better friends. There are so many different styles of both beer and chocolate, so it’s really fun looking for pairings and figuring out what works. When you find a good pairing, it has the possibility to elevate the beer and chocolate, and to emphasise delicious tasting notes that you hadn’t previously noticed.
We highly recommend getting ten different craft beers and ten different craft chocolate bars, inviting some friends over, and exploring the flavour possibilities. The best way to learn and discover is through trial and error!
A few tips on how to taste and pair…
- Before putting anything in your mouth, study what you’re about to taste. Look at the wrappers and labels and learn about the products. Look at the colour of the beer and chocolate, listen to the way they fizz and snap, then have a good smell of each.
- Don’t put the beer and chocolate in your mouth at the same time, as this will prevent the chocolate from melting properly and releasing its flavour. We recommend starting with the chocolate and letting it melt slowly in your mouth, noticing the texture and monitoring how the flavours develop over time.
- When the chocolate is almost gone, smell your beer and see how the aroma interacts with the chocolate. Then take a sip (not a guzzle) of beer and let it roll around your mouth, mixing with the flavour of the chocolate. Take a deep breath through your nose. Are the flavours and textures complimentary or do they clash?
- After your sip of beer, have another piece of the chocolate and see if it tastes different now. Feel free to take notes so that you remember your discoveries.
- It takes a while to learn what does and doesn’t work in a pairing. When you’re starting out, a good rule of thumb is to match with lightness and colour – i.e. the lighter the beer, the lighter the chocolate, and vice versa. This is definitely not a rule, but it’s a good place to start.
- Extremely bitter beers can be difficult to pair with chocolate, though not impossible. Generally, the sweeter the beer, the easier it is to pair with chocolate. The easiest pairings are dark and malty beers with dark or milk chocolate, but there are lots of other styles that work well together.
- The subtlety and nuance of single origin chocolate can be overwhelmed by beer. When you’re starting out, it might be easier to pair with flavoured chocolate bars, rather than plain single-origin bars, as the added flavours are usually more intense.
- Think of pairing a bit like cooking. If chilli and mango work together in a salad, then there’s a decent chance a chilli chocolate will work with a mango beer.
- There’s no such thing as getting it ‘wrong’. It’s all about experimenting and having fun!
There are endless great pairings out there to discover, but here are a few suggestions that usually work well together…
- Light wheat beers (e.g. hefeweizen) with white chocolate
Suggested bar: Amedei – Toscano Bianco
- Belgian Tripel with salted caramel bars
Suggested bar: Chocolate Tree – Sea Salt & Caramel
- Pale ale with caramel-y milk chocolate
Suggested bar: Cacaosuyo – Piura, Peru 50% Milk
- Milk Stout with ‘chocolatey’ single origin dark chocolate
Suggested bar: Zotter Labooko – Dominican Republic 62%
- Fruity sours with fruity milk (or white) chocolates
Suggested bar: Fjak – Blueberry Milk Chocolate
- Barley wine with spiced or citrus dark chocolate
Suggested bar: To’ak – Galapagos Orange & Salt
We hope you find these tips and suggestions useful. If you ever have any questions, feel free to get in touch!