Because there are different kinds and flavors of beer, which means you can serve it with any dish, pairing meals with beers has become a large part of beer culture. Many beer lovers know how to pick beer when eating a burger or a steak.
However, many would question if beer goes well with chocolate desserts. Well, the answer is absolutely yes, and "Švyturys Brewery" beer sommelier Jonas Lingys is here to tell you how to do it properly in the occasion of celebrating Chocolate this week.
Accentuate or tone down the sweetness of the dessert
Some rules in pairing beer with meals have already become traditions, but that does not mean you have to abide by them. It is always important to consider your own preferences, but following the rules allows people with different tastes to pair a sweet chocolate dessert with beer easier. You can try intense, sweet and rich beer or even a contrasting bitter one — it all depends on what you like.
"To accentuate a sweet chocolate flavor I recommend a darker and a more intense flavored Imperial stout, traditional stout or porter. These beers are sweeter, they have more chocolate or caramel malt, so when you pair them with a dessert you can taste complementary flavors and aftertastes", - advice from Jonas Lingys.
"Otherwise, if you want refreshment from a rich and sweet dessert, lambics and sour ales can contrast and balance the sweetness of the chocolate. If you prefer to contrast the sweetness with a bitter flavor, IPA can lighten the sweetness with a hoppy bitterness."
Pay attention to the ingredients of the dessert
The result of pairing beer with chocolate dessert depends not just on your preferences or desire to accentuate or balance the sweetness, but the ingredients of the dessert, too. For example, if the dessert is made using dark chocolate, which is usually a bit bitter, a lightly bitter stout or porter can keep the balance of the pairing. However, pairing a sour ale with a fruity dessert can break the balance.
"It is better to pay attention to the ingredients of the dessert, and avoid pairing beer with dessert just by your preferences. For example, if you were tasting a chocolate cake with a cherry on top, pairing it with a sour ale can accentuate the aftertaste of the dessert. However, if you were tasting a fruitier cake, the pairing with a sour ale can be disappointing. It is crucial to recognize the accents of the dessert. The path to finding the right pairings is tricky, but very interesting", - says "Švyturys Brewery" beer sommelier.
The right temperature and glass can improve the flavor of the pairing
When pairing a stout or a porter with a chocolate dessert, the beer should be slightly warmer, so as to reveal the flavor designed by the brewers. When choosing a lambic or an IPA, however, a colder temperature tempers some of the strong aromas created by yeast.
"It doesn't really matter whether the dessert is hot or cold. But when it comes to beer, the more intense it is, the warmer it should be — I recommend drinking stouts or porters at room temperature to truly appreciate the caramel and chocolate notes of the malt, which accentuates the flavor of the dessert. Meanwhile, if you choose to pair your dessert with a lambic, it should be cooled to mask the aromas of wild yeast. In both situations, I would choose to serve the beer in a tulip-shaped glass. This form underlines the flavor and gives a sense of expertise and sophistication, which makes the ritual of eating dessert all the more pleasurable", - suggests Jonas Lingys.
A universal recipe to put the advice into practice
If you want to try out your newfound knowledge of pairing beers with chocolate at home, "Švyturys Brewery" beer sommelier recommends a "wet" chocolate cake or a chocolate mousse and pairing it with an intense stout or a sour ale.
Jonas Lingys recommends: "When trying such a pairing at home for the first time, I would pick a rich chocolate dessert without remarkable accents of other flavors. For example, a soft and moist chocolate cake or a mousse, which have just one powerful flavor — sweetness. Pairing it with a sweeter stout or porter, or a sour lambic can let you balance the flavors perfectly."
For budding experts of pairing beer and food, "Švyturys Brewery" recommends a simple chocolate cake recipe with just 3 ingredients.
1. 6 eggs
2. 3 bars of your preferred chocolate
3. 100g butter
1. Melt the butter with the chocolate
2. Separate the yolks from the egg whites and beat them with an electric whisk
3. Mix the chocolate with the beaten yolks and carefully mix in the egg whites in parts
4. Brush the baking tray with butter, pour in the batter, and bake in an oven preheated to 175 degree celsius for 30-40 minutes.