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Best beer and food pairings: coffee stout beer with Peppermint Crisp blondies and 4 other epic combos you need to try

Make this your weekend project - 5 beers with 5 recipes. And go!

by: Karl Tessendorf | 21 Jun 2018
holding glasses of beer

(image: iStock)

ALSO READ: Drink and learn - 5 great malty craft beers to get for your fridge

Ah Winter, the only season where Stokies are glamorous and hot water bottles are the norm in offices. Yes, it’s an uncomfortable season but it’s also the stick-to-your-ribs food season which is perfect for beer pairing. Here are a couple of suggestions to kick-start your winter weekend pairing projects.   

1. Boston Breweries Van Hunks Pumpkin Ale with butternut tikka masala

Named after the man who supposedly out smoked the devil, Van Hunks is South Africa’s premier pumpkin ale. It’s dark amber in colour with an aromatic blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and coriander. It’s rich and warming without being heavy and perfect for cutting through the tikka masala spice bomb. The pumpkin flavours in the beer complement the butternut and sweet potato while the aromatics from both sides bounce off each other. It’s an earthy, robust pairing for the coldest nights. 

vegetarian butternut masala curry recipe

2. Fuller’s ESB with Shepherd’s pie

If it’s comfort you’re after then step this way and meet Mr. Shepherd’s Pie. Layers of veggies and aromatics combined with rich lamb that’s topped with creamy mash and baked until golden. Yes, it’s the definition of hearty and for this pairing I’ve gone with the equally robust, two-time World Champion Fuller’s ESB. Rich amber in colour, ESB is smooth on the palate and bitter on the finish. It’s packed with roasted caramel and toffee flavours to complement the meaty gravy, and fruit and spice to pick up the aromatics. It has a subtle carbonation to cut through the richness and leave you ready for the next bite.

shepherds pie recipe

3. Franschhoek Beer Co. The Stout with braised lamb shanks

If you’re a go big or go home kind of person then this pairing is for you. The king of long braises goes up against Franschhoek’s hefty stout in a clash of roasted flavours. The stout has intense flavours of dark chocolate, coffee and stone fruit with a subtle herbaceous edge. The shank is a rich, roasted umami bomb with a peppery earthiness from the veggies. Together they complement each other with deep caramelised flavours and matching intensities. The stout has more than enough body and smooth carbonation to cut through the palate-sticking fattiness.  

lamb shanks recipe

4. La Trappe Dubbel with molten salted caramel chocolate pudding
For a dessert as ridiculously tasty as this, we’re going to need an outstanding beer. I think one that’s brewed by monks at a monastery in the Netherlands using water that they haul up from ancient wells might do the trick. La Trappe Dubbel is an incredibly rich and smooth brew that’s packed with aromas and flavours of vanilla, caramel, chocolate, honey, and just about every fruit flavour you can think of. On top of all that, it has malt sweetness to complement the sweetness of the pairing and enough alcohol and spice to clear the palate with every sip.   

molten salted caramel chocolate pudding recipe

5. Atlantic Storm Coffee Stout with Peppermint Crisp blondies

Coffee stouts are a pairing of two greats in a bottle and Atlantic Storm makes one of the best. It’s silky smooth on the palate and bursting with biscuit, caramel, chocolate and berry aromas and flavours. The coffee and chocolate notes of the beer bounce off the biscuit and toffee flavours of the blondies. The peppermint leaves a cooling effect on the palate blending well with the bittersweet finish of the coffee stout. If you want to take things to the next level then add a blob of vanilla ice cream and pig out. 

peppermint crisp blondies recipe

Karl Tessendorf is one part of the duo that hosts 'Beer Country', South Africa's first TV show dedicated to beer, braai and the open road.


What makes beer taste like beer?

Beer is one of the most consumed beverages on the planet and for good reason. It's delicious, refreshing and it has a huge variety of styles. by: Karl Tessendorf | 02 Mar 2018 Images: iStock They range from spritzy blondes and rich ambers to punchy IPAs and stout, well, stouts.

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