I love the versatility of pairing craft beer with food just as much as I love punctuating a great meal with a sweet treat. This post is dedicated to my fellow beer-lovers who share my sweet tooth. Here are five drool-worthy craft beer and dessert pairings you can try at home.
Carrot Cake & IPA: Considered a classic (American) pairing by many, this seemingly odd-ball combination is all about achieving balance. The typically super-sweet carrot cake melds well with hoppy and bitter notes, accentuating the cake’s softer qualities. Cream cheese frosting is a must.
Recommended brews: A more balanced IPA like Bell’s Two Hearted Ale or a more citrus-forward brew like Ballast Point’s Sculpin.
Banana Cream Pie & Hefeweizen: This pairing is all about the banana on banana action. I had this combination at a beer dinner in Boulder a couple of years ago and have tried this at home a couple of times since then. The trick is to pair a luxurious Banana Cream Pie (no nuts, light on the chocolate) with a Hefeweizen that is less clove forward. The beer’s fruity esters and structured wheat profile meld wonderfully with the pie.
Recommended brews: La Cumbre Brewing’s A Slice of Hefen and Sierra Nevada’s Kellerweis.
Strawberry Cheesecake & Sour Ale: I love how a mildly tangy and creamy cheesecake plays off of a sour ale. Fruited cheesecakes with either strawberries or raspberries are my go-to to pair with a something like a nice Flanders-style brew to cut through some of the richness. Think more of a sour brown or red ale for this one.
Recommended brews: Jolly Pumpkin’s La Roja and Russian River’s Supplication.
Key Lime Pie & Gose: Much like how people like their Tequila with salt and/or a lime, I like to pair a classic Key Lime Pie with a nice salty Gose. The salinity in the beer takes some of the edge out of this tart dessert in the best way possible.
Recommended brews: Almanac Beer’s Golden Gate Gose and Anderson Valey’s The Kimmie, The Yink & The Holy Gose.
Brownie Sundae & Stout/Porter: This pairing may seem painfully straight-forward, but I do like an incredibly rich dessert experience from time to time. My little spin on a chocolatey brownie with a chocolatey stout is to choose either a coffee stout or a barrel-aged variety which lends a bit more dimension.
Recommended brews: Alesmith Brewing’s Speedway Stout and Firestone Walker’s Parabola.
Have your own favorite pairing? Tell us about it in the comments below!