Chocolate and Beer Pairings: 2011 VT Brewer’s Festival

Around early July, people at LCC start getting excited about the VT Brewer’s Festival.

There is some sort of synergy between microbreweries and LCC: the attention to craft, the ingredients, the process.  There really are quite a few similarities.  And so, the opportunity to work with these amazing brewers right here in our backyard gets people pretty excited.  What chocolate to pair with what beer?  The combinations are endless, the exploration is a lot of fun (to say the least) and the discovery of a perfect pairing is pure bliss. 

Due to overwhelming attendance in past years, this year LCC hosted two chocolate and beer pairing sessions.  As always, we share the pairings with you.  While many of these beers are only available locally, you can probably find similar style beers in your area.  We also encourage you to try your own pairings!  Let us know how you make out!

The chocolates

The beer

1.    Beer: VT Pub & Brewery Forbidden Fruit
A light, refreshing fruit beer fermented with over 500 pounds of real raspberries! At 6.2% ABV it is in the early reaches of the strong biére category! This ruby red, sour mashed and oak aged weiss beer is for everyone. Maybe some oak, cherry and vanilla come through? Try mixing it with our currently offered stout, on tap. It is real, it is right and it works. The freshest framboise on tap in town, no question.
Chocolate: Honey Caramel with Dark Chocolate
This caramel center uses heavy cream from Monument Farms in Weybridge, VT to give it a buttery softness. We infuse the caramel with honey collected by beekeepers from Vermont’s Champlain Valley. The honey creates a floral flavor that balances well with the signature 54% dark chocolate.

The crowd

2.    Beer: Switchback Slow-Fermented Brown Ale
The newest offering from Switchback Brewing Company, Slow-Fermented Brown Ale is a beautiful chestnut brown colored beer. It is fermented at an unusually cool temperature which slows down the fermentation. These conditions stress the yeast, resulting in a slow methodical fermentation in which the resultant flavors are clean, somewhat like a lager, with the added characteristic of a creamy smooth mouthfeel. This brown ale has a rich roast caramel flavor, with a subtle sweetness in the finish, delicately balanced with hop undertones. This ale contains 5.2% alcohol by volume. IBU 26.
Chocolate: Dark Chocolate Caramelized Almonds
A salted, roasted almond is caramelized before undergoing an old fashioned panned tumbling process. This process slowly coats thin layers of our signature dark chocolate around the candied almonds. The beer’s sweet flavors of barley and malt are matched by the strength of the roasted almond.

American Flatbread Zero Gravity Brewery

3.    Beer: Zero Gravity Black Cat Porter
Hoppy, malty, tobacco notes in the nose develop from the black and crystal malts used.
Chocolate: Organic Dark Chocolate Spicy Aztec
Organic dark chocolate with undertones of fruity tobacco is combined with cinnamon, cayenne, and pumpkin seeds. The spices evoke a warming heat throughout.

Pairing Card

4.    Beer: VT Pub & Brewery Beetlejuice
A perennial spring and summer favorite the world around – not just here at the VPB! This style of beer has gained popularity over the years as a light, thirst quenching beer and was first brewed at The Vermont Pub & Brewery back in 1990. On the lighter side, it was also the first time we experienced a stuck mash. This is a Bavarian style, sour-mashed Weissbier. A new, special yeast strain creates subtle banana and clove flavors. Try this Delightfully delicious wheat beer! Or not, there are others…
Chocolate: Bean to Bar Madagascar 70% Dark Chocolate
This micro-batch is an LCC R&D exclusive that was roasted, winnowed, refined, and conched to highlight the terroir of Madagascar cacao. High notes of sweet raspberry and sour lemon lend way to an underlying roasted, chocolate finish.

The Brewers (pairing session led by LCC’s Gary Coffey on left).

5.    Beer: Zero Gravity Madhava
A Belgian style honey ale brewed with limbic yeast allows the natural sweetness from the honey and alcohol to shine.
Chocolate: Organic Milk Chocolate Honey Fig Truffle
Organic heavy cream from Butterworks Farm from Westfield, VT is used to create this smooth ganache center. A hint of organic honey gives a floral sweetness to the deeply sweet organic fig. When paired with the Madhava, the honey of each complement while the fig brings depth to the beer.

Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Stout Cordial Shot

6.    Beer: Wolaver’s Oatmeal Stout
A super creamy stout, brewed using organic rolled oats and organic wheat. Hints of coffee, chocolate and roasted flavors emerge.
Chocolate: Exclusive Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Stout Cordial Shot
A Lake Champlain Chocolates one-time only exclusive created to celebrate the VT Brewfest and honor brewers and all beer fans! This piece a super liquidy cordial center that has notes of burnt caramel, malt, molasses, toasted oats, and ends with a sweet chocolate brownie finish from the 54% dark chocolate shell. It’s like drinking a Wolaver’s Oat in a dark chocolate cup!

Notes on Oatmeal Stout Cordial Shot from Lauren in R & D
Inspiration: We surveyed facebook fans on what they wanted to see in a Brewfest inspired piece, and they responded by saying they wanted to see a local beer used in a confection. So,  I chose the beer that got me to fall in love with VT craft brews. When I moved to Vermont, Otter Creek/Wolaver’s in Middlebury was the very first brewery I toured.
I really wanted to highlight the beer for what it is. The brewmaster spent so much time getting this one perfected, and I wanted to let that hard work shine through. Also, I wanted to mimic the experience of drinking a beer but delivered with chocolate, so that’s why the center is so liquid. -LD