It’s T minus 24 hours ’til Valentine’s Day, and if you’re like the authors of this blog, we’re guessing whether you’re single or paired off, beer is going to be on your Friday agenda. Luckily, you don’t have to formally observe this holiday to share in the fun of pairing craft beer with Valentine’s most ubiquitous treat–chocolate.
To get an expert opinion on the subject, we asked our friend, Crave Artisan Chocolate Owner/Chocolatier Krystal Craig to share some pairings that are sure to please sweet tooths and hop heads alike.
“I always liked beer, but I was never “into” beer until I started participating in chocolate and beer pairings,” Craig said. “After the challenge of getting to try a wide array of different brands, types, and flavors and having to pair them with chocolates to suit each one, I really became a beer fan.”
You can check out some of the pairings that converted Krystal below. Try them at home for a romantic Valentine’s Day in, or, if you’re in Austin, come on out to Craft Pride tomorrow to sample some of her selections. (Details at the bottom.)
Deep Ellum IPA
piney and resinous
“Enjoy with dark chocolate and berries, or a blackberry and brown sugar oat crisp (like cobbler) will pair perfectly,” Craig said. “Pine and berry go hand in hand, like being in a forest, and oats bring out the grain flavors.”
Ballast Point Sculpin
citrusy and hoppy
“Enjoy with dark or milk chocolate and peanut butter or citrus flavors,” Craig said. “Consider a chocolate covered peanut butter ball (I create citrus peanut butter and role in chocolate) or make lemon or orange and peanut butter cookies at home to eat with this beer. The peanut butter will round out the hop taste and the citrus will bring out more of those notes in the beer.”
Live Oak Hefeweizen
flavors of banana and clove
“Try to find either chocolates with ginger and walnut or find some hearty banana bread for this beer,” Craig said. “Ginger is a complimentary flavor to both banana and clove and really pulls them together- walnut helps to create an earthiness to ground or mellow the beer more in a good way.”
(512) Cascabel Cream Stout
chilies and cream
“This works well with creamier, lighter percentage dark chocolate and more play on chiles or the use of orange,” Craig said. “Orange flavors will bring out the sweetness of chiles present and adding more chiles to create a little spice to this creamy beer is good. Either find a spicy or orange dark chocolate bar or enjoy rich/deep chile tasting foods with mole! Caramel can also be a good choice to stay in the creamy range.”
Youngs Double Chocolate Stout
chocolate, chocolate, chocolate
“So many wonderful things pair with this beer because it is so rich and chocolaty,” Craig said. “Enjoy anything you find with coffee, coconut or cherry flavors. I love to make creamy coconut dark chocolate truffles or cherry flavored dark chocolate bark.”
Maredsous 8 or Chimay Red
berry Belgian dubbels
“Three things go well with both of these beers,” Craig said. “Dark chocolate and toffee! Dark chocolate and Bacon! Or salty dark chocolate, and bar snacks like pretzels and nuts!”
Krystal’s tasting technique:
“Have a taste of your beer, then slowly enjoy a taste of the item you are biting into and really try to taste the flavors,” Craig said. “Then enjoy another sip of your beer and proceed to combine them together.”
Crave Artisan Chocolate Valentine’s Pairing at Craft Pride
If you’re in Austin and would like to experience some of Krystal’s pairings first hand, she will be showcasing some of her favorite Texas craft beer and Crave Artisan Chocolate match ups tomorrow at Craft Pride.
February 14, 2014
Doors open at 4pm
$20 gets you a flight of 5 beers with a valentines themed box of chocolates!
Limited availability, first come first serve.