Let's say you're at a bourgie dinner party, Times tucked under your arm, tamping your pipe with one hand, and sipping on a crisp IPA with the other. You've been talking Middle Eastern politics with someone you consider your intellectual inferior and you're wearing your fancy jeans - all in all, the night is going well. Suddenly, the hostess offers you some hors d'oeuvres - crepes, truffles and ganache cake flown in from an obscure arrondissement of Paris. She then points to a bubbling white chocolate fondue fountain, and extends a hand clutching a marshmallow. Damn. What's a beer drinker to do?
When in doubt, keep your fingers wrapped around your perspiring mug and drink up. Sweets and desserts pose an interesting challenge to the beer enthusiast, so we've put together our favorite (and inadvertently international) pairings for the more flexible, adventurous palate.
Eat: Carrot Cake
Sip: Desnoes & Geddes Limited - Dragon Stout
Carrot cake is the stuff of legend. If you disagree, then take the 1 train up to the Bronx and stop by Lloyd's Carrot Cake on Broadway - their cake will literally rock your world, and maybe even your perspective on life. To calm your rattled nerves, enter the Dragon Stout. This malty, milk chocolate offering from Jamaica is sweet and creamy, almost more dark rum than beer. The beer will complement most desserts well, but it works especially well with carrot cake.
Eat: Belgian Waffles
Sip: Brouwerij Lindemans - Lindemans Peche
Belgian beers are mysterious and oftentimes surprising in their flavors or shocking in their complexity and strength. Given the Belgian skill for chocolates and sweets, a place on this list for one such beer is only natural - particularly the Lindemans Peche from Brouwerij Lindemans. Cloudy and orange-amber in appearance, the Peche smells peachy (literally and figuratively) and tastes sweet and tart. Enjoy with chocolate-, syrup- and berry-laden Belgian waffles for a delicious, filling experience.
Eat: Blintzes n' Nutella
Sip: North Coast Brewing Co. - Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
@NoCoastBrewCo | 9.00% ABV
People will generally associate Russia with vodka (with good reason, really), but recent political developments and a tasty Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co. could change that. Black as night and tasting of dark roasted malts and bitter chocolate, this is a complex, strong beer, both in flavor and alcohol content. For food: while you're at Lloyd's getting cake, go around the corner along Moshulu and stop by the Russian market for some blintzes. Blintzes come with a variety of fillings (savory, sweet, Soviet), and should be bathed in Nutella (or its generic Shop-Rite doppelganger).
Eat: Gingerbread Men
Sip: Brooklyn Brew Shop - Gingerbread Ale
@bklynbrewshop | 6.5% ABV
It's raining Gingerbread men! Hall-ale-uhjah! Forgive the unabashed horn-tooting, but we think our Gingerbread Ale is mighty tasty. It's medium-bodied with a solid malt backbone, and our recipe calls for cinnamon sticks, candied ginger, nutmeg and cloves to make for a finely spiced brew. Pair with crunchy gingerbread men, some woolen PJ's, and a wild imagination, and you've got yourself one heck of a Saturday night.
Sip: Private Weissbierbrauerei G. Schneider und Sohn - Schneider Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock
Eisbock is a traditional German beer that is made by freezing off and removing water to further concentrate flavor, body and alcohol content. In other words, eisbocks tend to be complex and extraordinarily rich beers that aren't for the faint of heart (or weary of liver). This particular eisbock is dark and cloudy, with a smooth malty taste and creamy, syrupy feel. Rum, coffee, fruity flavors abound. Sip and enjoy at your leisure, ideally with a bowl of tasty Mozartkugeln (chocolate- and nougat-covered pistachio marzipan balls) nearby. Then play a drinking game where you try to read the bottle's label quickly and repeatedly - best part is, you always win!
What's your favorite dessert/beer combo?