When most Buffalonians think about pairing their craft beer, they probably only do so in terms of how well their favorite Buffalocal brew will match up with their preferred style of chicken wings. This is no surprise, as these food items are basically considered dietary staples to like 98% of WNYers. However, if you’ve never tried pairing your favorite local beer with Halloween candy, then you are definitely missing out!
When pairing candies and beer, we generally recommend choosing items whose flavor profiles complement one another. This approach only richens the flavor notes found in both the candy and the beer. While this is the most common and foolproof approach, there are oftentimes contrasting pairings that are equally as delicious!
Sound exciting but you’re not sure where to start? Lucky for you we have done a lot of, ahem, “research”. Check out this list of some of our favorite Buffalocal beer and Halloween candy matchups:
- Belgian Wit —The fruity notes in a Starburst candy will help pull out the delicious citrus notes found in a traditionally brewed Belgian Wit. Try this out with New York Beer Project’s Gameday Wit and see how the orange flavors in the beer rush forward. Want less fruit flavors and more malt? Try pairing your Wit with a Twix or Kit Kat. The shortbread, wafers and caramel in these candies will help bring forth the biscuit flavors from the malt in the beer.
- Amber Ale— Try pairing a Cinnamon Apple Amber Ale from Big Ditch Brewing Company with a Werther’s Original candy. The sweet caramel flavors of the candy work perfectly to compliment the subtle toasted flavors from the malts in the beer. And the apple notes… I mean, come on! What’s a more classic Fall treat than a candy apple? Yum!
- Pumpkin Ale — Once the reigning style for the Fall beer lineup, this seasonal brew is great to pair with either marshmallow Peeps or Candy Corn! Since both candies lack a strong flavor profile, the sugar in each basically works to enhance the spices and vanilla notes found in your pumpkin brew. Try a Buffalocal brew like Vanilla Cappuccino Pumpkin Ale from Resurgence Brewing Company and see if it reminds you of pumpkin pie and whipped cream.
- Sour— Now Sour beers may not be everyone’s cup of tea but they are quickly growing in popularity here in Buffalo, and we are stoked! Try pairing a fruited Sour (like Pressure Drop’s Beyond Neptune) with fruity sweet candies like Skittles or Jolly Ranchers to enhance the fruit juice notes in the beer and round out some of the tart pucker on the finish. Conversely, you can easily amp up those tart notes by pairing your Sour Buffalocal brew with Sour Patch Kid candies for a nice pucker inducing treat!
- Stout — Pairs best with chocolate, especially nutty candies like Snickers and Reese’s. Stouts famously have cocoa and nutty notes imparted by the roasted malts used to brew them. Or, if you like to mix things up a bit, try pairing your Stout with Twizzlers for more of a ‘chocolate covered fruit’ taste! Try both these pairings with a rich smooth stout like Big Ditch’s Make Me Wanna Stout.
- Porter— Once again, it’s all about those malts! Just like the Stout, the toasted flavors in your Porter will also pair wonderfully with the nutty flavors in a Reese’s peanut butter cup, or try pairing it with a Mounds bar. The toasted coconut and rich dark chocolate of the Mounds bar will enhance the toasty chocolate notes of the beer while imparting a delicate tropical sweetness. Try these combinations with 42 North’s Asylum Porter or 12 Gates Coffee Porter.
Leave a comment and let us know which combination you are most excited to try!