2015 VT Brewer’s Festival Beer & Chocolate Pairing
Summer is upon us when the Vermont Brewer’s Festival arrives at the Burlington Waterfront Park every July. For us chocolate folks, it is also the time of year that we sit down with local brewers and friends to collaborate for the annual Education Tent Beer & Chocolate Pairing. This year’s event showcased two breweries from the Burlington area: Zero Gravity Craft Brewery and Burlington Beer Company.
Our “research sessions” require essential tools: cutting board & pairing knife, notebook and pen, labels for beer glasses, and a dump cup, and of course assorted boxes of chocolates and beer taps at arms’ reach. Meeting at the brewery has become the standard approach so that we can taste special releases and even pull direct from the fermenter at times. Our final festival list became two beers from each brewer, each paired with a distinct chocolate.
We always ask each audience to raise a glass, hoot and holler for their favorite pairing – this year saw a couple very strong contenders for top honors. The loudest roar from the crowd emerged for Citizen Zero, a collab-brew by our Pine Street neighbors, Zero Gravity and Citizen Cider. It was fittingly paired with the Apple Cider Caramel, made using apple syrup cooked down from the fresh pressed sweet cider used by Citizen Cider. The caramel delivers an incredible cooked apple pie experience – and are available at LCC retail stores in Vermont, online, or at select retailers across the US.
Without further delay, here are the details of this year’s pairings!
New World Vienna: Amber lager. 20 IBU. 5.1% abv
A Mexican adaptation of the old world style, this lager was brewed with Hallertau hops, Vienna and Munich malts, and infused with Blue Bandana’s cacao nibs from the Dominican Republic. Malt character is lightly toasty and elegant. Great food beer.
Pair with: roasted cacao nibs + Reserva Zorzal 75%
Premium cacao from Dominican Republic is fermented & dried at the farm, roasted and deshelled in Burlington. Notes of grape, apricot, oak, and nuts.
Reserva Zorzal 75% has light fruit notes of apricot and grape, a delicate sweetness like honey, and a backbone to the likes of baked brownies.
Citizen Zero: Gruit Ale / Cider Hybrid, 14 IBU, 7.6% abv
Gruit Ale fermented with juice from the gang at Citizen Cider. Brewed with Golden Promise mal, locally-grown sweet gale, mugwort and yarrow and fermented with English and Belgian yeasts. Delicate aroma of apples and esters with a refreshing tart finish. Get Excidered!
Pair with: Apple Cider Caramel
Juice pressings from Happy Valley Orchard and the gang at Citizen Cider are boiled down to a syrup. This syrup consists of 100% apple and is the main sweetener for caramel, slow cooked in copper kettles. Notes of caramelized sugars, cooked apple and a touch of cinnamon evoke memories of fresh apple pie.
——————–Burlington Beer Company———————
Folk Metal: Oatmeal Stout, 6.3%
An opaque ale with rich chocolate and coffee aromas and rounded malt character from the use of malted and flaked oats. Resistance is futile.
Paired with: Raspberry Truffle bar
A soft raspberry truffle center, made using Monument Farms heavy cream, is held within a 54% dark chocolate shell. Flavors of tart raspberry, cream, and semi-sweet dark chocolate.
Light in the Window: Rye IPA, 5.9%
A crispy Rye IPA brewed with flaked and malted Rye. Densely hopped and bursting with dank hop flavors to compliment the spicy nature of rye.
Paired with: Spicy Aztec
Organic 57% dark chocolate with undertones of fruity tobacco is combined with cinnamon, cayenne, and pumpkin seeds. The spices evoke a warming heat throughout.