Just in time to begin celebrations for the candy holiday, Charlie Papazian — possibly the country’s most famous homebrewer and author of The Complete Joy of Homebrewing — wrote today in his Beer Examiner blog about the delicious and complex pairing of real, good, dark chocolate and real, good (often dark) beer. Papazian explains,
The story of chocolate making is as complex as beer making. Chocolate is an agricultural product. Origin, climate, soil, harvest, fermentation of cacao beans (yes fermentation !), handling, transportation, cleanliness, roasting, processing into chocolate mass, temperature of process and other variable tremendously effect the quality of chocolate.
Pairing chocolate with beer seems like a no-brainer for Papazian (and for yours truly) but often goes over-looked by fans of one or the other. So where should you start with the pairing?
Generally, I find beers with alcohol levels between 7% and 12% a good starting point. I seek chocolate matches with beer portraying a degree of caramel, toffee, roast, coffee, cocoa malt character. Fruity and floral hop aromatics and flavors are chocolate friendly. Moderated hop bitterness shouldn’t interfere with depth of chocolate character. My choice of chocolate is dark and in the range of 75% to 88% cacao. Not bitter, but certainly not crippled with what I consider an overdose of sugar common in most chocolate bars. If you’ve never experienced artisanal chocolate before treat yourself.
What better way to ring in the Halloween season than by picking up some artisan chocolates and experimenting with it and a nice dark roasty brew?
This Halloween treat yourself to some chocolate finery. It will change your world. The kind of change you can believe in, giving you another occasion to enjoy, savor and share your beer discoveries.
Couldn’t have said it better myself! To read the rest of the original article by Papazian, which includes some chocolate recommendations, click here. Happy Halloween & happy pairing!