I had the privilege of joining a few others in Glendale at Sidebar for a beer and chocolate tasting featuring brews from Stone Brewing Company, based in Escondido. Yes – we paired chocolates and beer – and I can positively say I’ve never even given the combination a thought. But pair they did, the tastes of which we were all there to experience. Gev Kazanchyan (our host) and Nate Sellergren (Stone’s Los Angeles rep) had paired up five brews with five Mignon chocolates – the identities of which were kept incognito under the doily in each of our individual chocolate boxes.
Fellow bloggers including CarolineOnCrack, FoodGPS and John of Social Domain were on hand to share the sometimes peculiar matchings. As far as the beer itself, I enjoyed the Smoked Porters the most. The Smoked Porters even came in three degrees of “smokiness.” Since porters, however, as dark beers are rich – I had a hard time reconciling the richness in both the chocolate and the brew. This was especially evident in the dark chocolate truffle with Dutch cocoa powder matched with the smokiest Porter.
Not coincidentally, I enjoyed the first pairing the most. It was the lightest beer at 4% content – the Levitation Ale. The pairing with a chocolate-covered orange peel was perfect, I thought. The orange peel highlighted the lightness in the ale with its own citrus zest very nicely.
I enjoyed both Indian Pale Ales but the Ruination IPA had notably more hops in it than the others. It was paired with a dark chocolate piece filled with lavendar ganache which brought a nice, lighter essence to that match.
My least favorite coupling admittedly had to do more with the beer than anything else – and that would be the Arrogant Bastard Ale. My palate doesn’t prefer especially strong ales so the oaked version of the same brew wasn’t cutting it. Still – I was surprised they were both paired with a sweeter, milk chocolate. I’d think that the sweetness might throw off the potency of the Arrogant Bastard (had I preferred it).
Pairing chocolate with beer is evidently a challenging thing to do. There were more combinations in this experience that threw my palate off than I thought worked well or even made sense. But perhaps for those few pairings it was worth it. Now if I could just find some chocolate-covered orange peels and some Stone Levitation ale…
1114 N. Pacific Ave.
Glendale, CA 91202