Beer and Chocolate Pairings

Brandon Carbonare

Calling all beer fans and foodies! Valentine’s Day is around the corner and although we love the traditional heart-shaped box of chocolates and bouquet of roses, why not up your tradition to a Valentine’s Day Experience? We’re talking about beer and chocolate pairings – that’s right, beer and chocolate. Interested? Read all about some of our favorite pairings.

First up, Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPA. This beer has a very unique brewing process, by boiling over 60 different hops for a full hour a pungent, citrusy, and grassy flavor is born. All without being overly bitter. This hop-forward golden amber India pale ale provides piney and citrusy notes with a crisp mouthfeel and slightly lingering bitterness. You can find it year-round, measuring in at 6% ABV with an IBU of 60. With a beer like this, you’ll want to pair it with a spicy or salty dark Chocolate. Elements of spice and salt both pair nicely with the contrasting crispness from the IPA and mellow together with the finishing subtle bitterness of both the beer and the chocolate.  There really is no going wrong with this combo and would make for a perfect after dinner treat.

Our 2nd round is for the pilsner lovers out there. Let’s take a look at Pilsner Urquell! First brewed by Josef Groll in 1842, Pilsner Urquell was the world’s FIRST golden pilsner lager, changing the world of beer forever. Pilsner Urquell’s signature flavor balances sweetness from the triple-decocted malt, and bitterness from our Saaz hops. The thick head of dense, wet foam adds smoothness and seals in flavor and aroma. With a refreshing crispness from natural carbonation, then subtle caramel tones and a clean finish with a pleasing hoppy bitterness. This Czech beer rates a 4.4% ABV and IBU of 40 – pairing perfectly with a medium body dark chocolate. Our chocolate of choice for this beer is dark chocolate truffles. These decadent poppable pearls deliver a uniquely smooth and rich gourmet taste, and there is no going wrong with a smooth dark chocolate center covered in a delicate dark chocolate shell.

Next up we’re going local, to the capital region’s own Brown’s Brewery. Engaging, dark, and bold, Brown’s Oatmeal Stout is an ever-popular ode to the classic English Stout, earning Brown’s the prestigious gold medal at the World Beer Cup. An approachable, easy to drink, rich, and silky-smooth glass of pure delicious indulgence. Coming in at 5.25% ABV and an IBU of 20, this stout pairs with something a little different – coffee flavored dark chocolate. The bold flavors of the stout work perfectly with the just as bold flavor of the coffee beans in the chocolate bar. Give this pairing a go if you’re a true coffee lover.

Staying with the spirit of local, our next beer hailing from Cooperstown, we have Ommegang Three Philosophers. Rich and complex, this tour de force is a glorious blend of elegant Belgian-style quadruple ale and authentic Belgian kriek, its malty depth and gentle sweetness enhanced by sparkling carbonation and a serendipitous touch of cherry. This Beer packs a punch at 9.7% ABV and an IBU of 21. For this beer, we recommend being adventurous. Try some unique varieties of dark chocolate, flavors of cinnamon, cayenne, oatmilk, and more all work with this versatile brew.  These pairings can be customized to give you a unique experience every time and allowing Ommegang’s unique beer to really shine.

Now on to our final pairing, we take a look at Unibroue’s La Fin du Monde, a Top fermented Blonde Belgian triple, coming in at 9% ABV and an IBU of 19. Unibroue’s Flagship, this beer is medium bodied with a pleasant, lingering warm finish, a fine, sustained, and slow effervescence and a white, creamy, generous head. Brighten up your pairing and your day with orange or citrusy dark chocolate. Delicious velvety chocolate with a hint of orange for a bright and citrusy accompaniment works beautifully with this wonderful beer, you can’t go wrong with the warmth of a Belgian triple and orange chocolate, a match made perfect.

While we may have reached the end of today’s pairings, that doesn’t mean there aren’t more out there. Let us know on social media if you try any of these suggestions or just let us know know if you have a recommendation that would be a great combination. Thanks for sticking around and joining us on our pairing adventure.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Chocolate Covered Pretzels with Caramel and Peanut Butter

Jodie Fitz

PICS Pretzel rods

PICS Mini chocolate morsels, dark, milk or semi-sweet

Caramel apple wraps

PICS Peanut butter (optional)

Colored sprinkles

PICS Nonstick cooking spray

Coat a pizza cutter with nonstick cooking spray.

Place the caramel wraps, one at a time, on a cutting board with a piece of parchment paper between the caramel wrap and your cutting board. Note: The caramel comes with parchment paper dividers that you can use; this prevents the caramel from sticking to the cutting board. 

Using the pizza cutter, cut the caramel wraps into one inch strips. 

Starting at least two inches from one end of the pretzel, carefully wrap the caramel strips around the rest of the pretzel.  Set the caramel wrapped pretzels onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet and set aside.

Pour chocolate morsels into a tall drinking glass, Microwave the chocolates in the glass on high for one minute.  The chocolate will not look fully melted, stir the morsels together until they fully melt after removing the glass from the microwave.  

Dip the caramel covered pretzel into the chocolate leaving the unwrapped end exposed.  

Set the pretzel back onto the waxed paper and coat with a thin layer of colored sprinkles. 

Let the pretzels set until the chocolate has hardened.  

Keep the pretzels in cool storage.

The Caramel Wraps? You can typically locate these in the produce area of your Price Chopper and Market 32 Supermarkets near the apples.

Add Peanut Butter! Simply spread a light layer of peanut butter onto the pretzel before wrapping it with caramel.  Follow the rest of the directions as is.

Nut allergies?  Replace the peanut butter powder with WowButter®.  It’s a delicious nut free, tree nut free, gluten free peanut butter alternative.  It can be found in the allergy friendly aisle at your Price Chopper and Market 32 Supermarkets.

So Much Fun with Kids!  There’s lessons in every recipe making experience for the kids in your life.  Here are a few activities to concentrate on when making this no bake pretzel fun;

  • Cutting safety
  • Wrapping
  • Dipping
  • Melting chocolate
  • Spreading
  • Sprinkling
  • Following directions



Chocolate Caramel Filled Shortbread Cookies

Jodie Fitz

½ cup PICS butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon PICS vanilla extract

1 PICS egg, large

½ cup PICS confectioner’s sugar

1 ½ cups PICS all-purpose flour

¾ cup PICS mini chocolate chips

Filling

2 tablespoons PICS butter

3 tablespoon PICS milk

5 oz. Caramel candies, unwrapped

¼ cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Using an electric mixer, whip together the room temperature butter with the vanilla extract, egg and confectioner’s sugar.  Slowly add in the flour continuing to mix with the electric mixer until all ingredients are mixed well.  

Using a spatula, fold in the mini chocolate chips.

Form the dough into small cookie dough balls and slightly flatten them and place them onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Using a tablespoon sized measuring spoon, dip the base of the measuring spoon into confectioner’s sugar and press it into each cookie to create an indent.

Bake the cookies for 10 – 12 minutes.

Recipe makes approximately 18 cookies.

While the cookies are baking and cooling, prep the filling by first melting 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat in a saucepan.  Once melted, over low heat, add in the 3 tablespoons of milk, 5 oz. unwrapped caramel candies and stir until the candies have melted and the three ingredients are mixed together well.  Turn off the heat and add in ¼ cup of mini chocolate chips.  Continue to stir until they are fully melted and mixed in.

Add the filling into a piping bag once it’s slightly cooled and can be handled.  If you don’t have a piping bag, add the filling to a quart sized freezer bag and clip one corner.

Pipe the filling into the cookie indent.  Let the cookies set until the center hardens, approximately 30 minutes.  

Optional:  Add sprinkles on top before the center hardens.

Storing:  If you are layering the cookies when storing in an airtight container, keep a of layer parchment paper between the layers to prevent the cookie centers from sticking to other cookies.

So Much Fun with Kids!  There’s lessons in every recipe making experience for the kids in your life.  Here are a few activities to concentrate on when making these cookies:

  • Measuring ingredients
  • Mixing
  • Electric mixer safety
  • Melting
  • Stovetop safety
  • Piping
  • Following directions

 

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