Beer and chocolate might not seem like they'd make the best of friends, at least at first. Take a stroll over to the section of the store where the darker brews reside and you'll start to see where this is headed. Mocha stouts? Nutty brown ales? Rich and spicy Belgian dubbels? Let's skip dinner and head straight for the dessert course.
• Lindt EXCELLENCE 70% Cocoa with Rogue Ale's Chocolate Stout: You can't have a chocolate and beer tasting without at least one chocolate stout in the line-up. The creaminess of this one from Rogue Brewery complements the silky decadence of Lindt EXCELLENCE 70% Cocoa so perfectly that it's like the two were made for each other. This duo dances on the edge of chocolate overload, which is right where we chocolate lovers like to be.
• Lindt EXCELLENCE A Touch of Sea Salt with Port Brewing Company's Old Viscosity: With this one, think of chocolate salted caramels. No joke. Old Viscosity is aged in bourbon barrels, where it picks up notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak. Add a bite of Lindt EXCELLENCE A Touch of Sea Salt chocolate between sips, and you have a real treat on your hands. The pops of Fleur de Sel in the dark chocolate are a happy surprise against the ale's lingering soft caramel sweetness.
• Lindt EXCELLENCE Intense Orange with Unibroue's Trois Pistoles: When Lindt says this chocolate is intensely orange, they mean it. It's the perfect chocolate to pair with Trois Pistoles from Unibroue. This Belgian-style strong dark ale is full of spicy fall fruit flavors with an underlying nuttiness, like sticky toffee pudding topped with roasted cherries and figs. Pairing it with a few squares of Lindt EXCELLENCE Intense Orange is just playing to the crowd, bringing out the best qualities in both.
• Lindt EXCELLENCE Chili with Stone Brewing Co.'s Stone Smoked Porter: Spicy and smoky, these two practically paired themselves. The Lindt EXCELLENCE Chili brings a sweet and very definite heat, while the ultra-smooth porter puts out the fire (quite literally) and leaves behind a ghostly touch of campfire smoke. For an even more magical pairing with this chocolate, keep your eye out for the special releases of Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers and Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean. You can't go wrong.
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(Pairings & images: Emma Christensen)