An interesting pair: Chocolate & beer!

By Philipp Kauffmann

April 05, 2022

We do like the better things in life. Chocolate, wine, but also beers. And every summer, when the chocolate season is on a seasonal low, we keep ourselves busy with small side projects. Amsterdam, where our headquarter is located, is a perfect spot to reach out to local breweries and hop on a tour to discover new taste sensations.

Why does beer go well with chocolate?

Alcohol is a flavour enhancer, helping bring out the natural flavours in food. That's why chefs use alcohol so often in cooking and why alcoholic drinks are so often paired with food. However you need to find a drink with flavours that can work with and complement the complex array of the taste and aroma of chocolate. That's where beer comes in!

Beer is made from malted barley. During malting, the barley is allowed to germinate releasing the sugars, minerals, vitamins and protein that the yeast will convert into beer. The germination is stopped by "kilning" - heating the green malt in a large oven. This not only stops the germination it also produces colour and flavour. The same "browning reactions" occur during kilning as cooking all types of food (roasting meat, making toast). Just as with making toast, the longer and more intense the heat - the greater the colour and flavour of the resulting Malt.

The malster’s skill is adjusting the intensity of kilning to produce different types of malt. There is a whole spectrum of flavours and colours from very pale golden lager malt through the rich browns to roasted malts that are almost black. There is also a vast array of malt flavours - fresh cut hay or sweetcorn in lager malts, malty toffee, Ovaltine, Horlicks, Malteser in ale malts, chocolate, coffee flavours in darker malts and smoky, burnt, roasted flavours in black malts and roasted barley. The range of malty flavours are perfect partners for chocolate. Beers brewed with paler malts complimenting milk chocolates and darker beers such as stouts matching plain chocolate.

Hops are the other ingredient which helps beer marry up with chocolate. Hops are the source of beer bitterness - which complements the natural bitterness of some chocolate.

The bitterness helps cut through the powerful chocolate flavours that overwhelm a blander drink. Hops can also give a citrus flavour to beer - and we know that citrus flavour such as orange and chocolate can be a match made in heaven!

Fruit beers, such as those traditionally brewed in Belgium, are produced by maturing the beer in casks with whole fruit (typically 100 -200 g of fresh fruit per litre of beer). The most popular varieties are Framboise (raspberry) and Kriek (cherry). Whilst the raspberry can tend to be over powered by chocolate, a cherry/chocolate pairing works absolutely perfectly.

Arhuaco 82% & Gebrouwen door Vrouwen Tricky Tripel

The chocolate:

Arhuaco 82%

Harmonious Dark Chocolate

Arhuaco Ancestral Lands, Columbia

Heights of sweet spices, liquorice and sesame rise gently in this select tribal Businchari cacao made according to ancient Arhuaco tribal traditions that are designed to maintain the world’s natural harmony.

The beer:

Gebrouwen door Vrouwen

Tricky Tripel 7.8%

The BIG Boss

Tricky Tripel is a real tough guy. It is a nutritious beer in which a lot of malt is processed. The triple is an artisanal beer of the very first hour. Full flavour and dangerously delicious. Tricky Tripel is a beer of 7.8%.

Cusco 100% & Two Chef’s Howling Wolf

The chocolate:

Cusco 100%

Mighty dark cacao

Cusco heights, Peru

Tastes of dried flowers and grass mark the absolute altitude of this rarest of rare Chuncho cacao, a singular offering from the lands of the mighty condor.

The beer:

Two Chef’s

Howling Wolf Porter 8,0%

40IBU - 45EBC

Wait for the full moon to rise to drink me. Or don't. But if you do. There's no telling what might happen. Or is there. Who knows? Well I know. And that's no joke.

This supple Porter has a solid body together with a hoppy character. The taste of the Howling Wolf is dominated by lightly roasted coffee beans and cocoa and there is also a hint of red fruit to be discovered.

That's why they are the perfect pairing:

The Cusco 100% is a great match with the Howling Wolf as the high bitterness of the chocolate is in line with the dryness and coffee tones of the Porter. It makes it a real dark taste explosion for lovers.

Beni Wild 66% & Goose Island 312

The chocolate:

Beni Wild 66%

Vivid Dark Chocolate

Beni, Bolivia

The rare Beniano cocoa of this vivid dark chocolate, named after the Beni River, grows wild on forest islands in the Bolivian Amazon and is hand-picked by indigenous collectors. The small beans weigh only half as much as ordinary cocoa beans and have a mild yet fruity aroma of flower honey, apricots and jasmine tea.

The beer:

Goose Island 312

Urban Wheat Ale 4.2%

Inspired by the city of Chicago and densely populated with flavor, 312's spicy aroma of Cascade hops is followed by a crisp, fruity ale flavor delivered in a smooth, creamy body that's immensely refreshing.

That's why they are the perfect pairing:

The Goose Island 312 has many of the light floral qualities of an elegant floral Chardonnay, which matches wonderfully with the floral notes of honey and apricots and its perfumed hops add an extra element to the combo. 

Udzungwa 70% & Two Chef’s Boom Bocks Tonka

The chocolate:

Udzungwa 70%

Playful Dark Chocolate

Udzungwa Park, Tanzania

Warm notes of orange and toffee make their way through the senses in this ultra rare Trinitario cocoa. In addition to classic Trinitario cocoa, scientists in the Udzungwa region have also discovered a hybrid of Ecuadorian Nacional and Trinitario from Venezuela. This cocoa has only been seen in very few places in the world so far.

The beer:

Two Chef’s Boom Bocks

Tonka Bockbier 6,0%

30IBU - 45EBC

“Boom boom boom. I want you in my room. Let’s spend this night together. From now until forever. “

It's coming down from the sky and the wind won't stop. Luckily the Vengaboys are pumping out of the speakers, the Boom Bocks flows abundantly and hopefully you will spend this autumnal night together. Aromas of vanilla, cinnamon and coffee! Sweet taste through the use of tonka beans, but not sticky and in the aftertaste you can taste cloves and even a hint of pumpkin. Let autumn come, from now until forever.

That's why they are the perfect pairing:

The chocolate is not bitter at all and the orange tones fit in well with the taste of the Tonka beans of the beer. Tonka beans have taste hints of vanilla and caramel and a touch of cloves and this is perfectly in line with the orange and toffee notes.

Esmeraldas 42% & Gebrouwen door Vrouwen Zonnig Zeewit

The chocolate:

Esmeraldas 42%

Silky milk chocolate

Esmeraldas, Ecuador

Notes of caramel and hazelnut with Fleur de Sel resonate throughout this rare Arriba cacao. The taste floats down from Ecuador’s last Pacific cloudforest, where silky tree frogs bask in the humid breeze.

The beer:

Gebrouwen door Vrouwen

Zonnig Zeewit 3.8%

The Seaweed Superhero

Sun, Sea, Beach and BIER! Sunny Sea White is a light white ale with seaweed picked from the Dutch North Sea! To keep our sea healthy, part of the yield goes to "Zee Boerderij IJmond". The Sunny Sea White is a beer of 3.8%.

That's why they are the perfect pairing:

The lightness of our Esmeraldas Milk 42% blends in wonderfully with the light sunny sea flavour of this 3.8% white ale.

Piura 75% & Gebrouwen door Vrouwen Gin Weizen

The chocolate:

Piura 75%

Bright Dark Chocolate

Piura Valley, Peru

Flavours of raspberry, dried prunes and pecan divulge the secrets of this ultra rare white cacao—nature’s delicious mistake— we found along Peru’s coastal desert, the habitat of a diverse and bright butterfly collection.

The beer:

Gebrouwen door Vrouwen

Gin Weizen 6.0%

The One That Never Sleeps

Gin Weizen is a beer brewed with barley, wheat and spelt malt. It's sweet and fresh - delicious anywhere and at anytime! The special flavour is given by the gin herbs that are added to the beer.

Who needs a Gin & Tonic?

And what about my favourite beer?
If you know of a beer we should be testing, or you are a brewery who would like to work with us, don't hesitate to drop us an email to [email protected]!

Esmeraldas Coast, Ecuador.
Silky notes of caramel and salt float through this chocolate from rare Arriba cacao like a cloud forest’s mist where tree frogs bask.

  • Vegan

  • Climate +

  • Fair +

  • Zero Waste