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Pairing Craft Beer with Valentine's Day Dishes

Sweets for the Sweet - Four sweet ways to woo with brews. (Issue 22)

Valentine’s Day is known for high-priced meals and equally high expectations, but let’s face it, what this holiday really boils down to is sharing dessert and bubbly with your special someone. Why not forgo the pricey meal and head straight to dessert? Pair it up with delicious craft beer and you’ve got yourself the sweetest Valentine’s Day beer tasting ever.

To make planning easy, check out our four-course dessert menu. It starts with Mini Neapolitan Bundt Cakes that are as delightful to look at as they are to eat. Light and delicate, these cakes are topped with a bright pink fluffy icing that doesn’t overwhelm the sublime flavors of the cake.

Of course, Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be the same without chocolate, and although our bundt cakes have a layer of chocolate, our Red Velvet S’mores Blossom Cookies take care of any remaining cravings. For starters, these cookies are a breeze to bake, thanks to the devil’s food cake mix called for in the recipe. They come out soft and chewy and are layered with a pillow of gooey, seared marshmallows and melty Hershey’s Kisses.

Peanut brittle is the opposite of melty, but it is so tasty with the beers we have lined up. For all three of our offerings so far, stouts and porters are the way to go. The peanut brittle and the bundt cakes are perfect when paired with Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout. Pairing it with the peanut brittle is like adding a chocolate peanut butter cup to the menu. It also has a light touch, which brings out the chocolate in the cake without overwhelming the other flavors and texture.

Bayhawk Ales brews a chocolate porter that paired well with the cookies and the cakes, but it was Pelican Brewing Company’s Tsunami Stout that got our vote when pairing the cookies. It is jet black and strong, like a good cup of espresso. The beer tames the sweetness of the cookie and exudes roasted notes that harmonize beautifully with the caramelization of the marshmallow.

Don’t forget to save room for pie! Our Mixed Berry Love Note Pie appears to have been delivered by Cupid himself. Sealed with a heart, it is the sweetest way to send a message of love.

A dark coffee-style stout or porter could be paired with this treat, but we found quadrupels to be the real showstoppers. Ommegang Brewery’s Three Philosopher’s Quad and Avery Brewing’s The Reverend Belgium-Style Quad were our picks. They impart a mild sweetness with just a hint of stone fruit, which partners well with the buttery crust and juicy fruits in the pie.

Now that you’ve got a plan in place, complete with recipes and beer tasting ideas, all you need is your special someone to make Valentine’s Day sweeter than sweet.

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