As an accompaniment to dessert, beer is a well-matched partner. Take it one step farther, and it doubles as a secret ingredient that adds a voluptuous quality to a large variety of desserts. Many styles of beer are available, with flavor, aroma and carbonation factors that marry-well with different styles of dessert:
Carbonation and yeastiness make batters crisper, and help cakes and sweet quick-breads to rise.
Depending on style used, beer may enhance the chocolate or dark-fruit aspects of sauces, or highlight the lightness of macaroons, bread pudding and lemon pound cake.
When adding beer as an ingredient to cakes, choose a recipe that uses water, milk, buttermilk or yogurt. Use a beer with compatible flavors as a substitute for half of the liquid.
With fruit pies, you may use up to 4 oz. of beer, but add an additional tablespoon of flour to the filling.
Beer such as Framboise (raspberry), Kriek (Cherry), Pesche (Peach), or Seasonal Spiced Beer can be used as a gentle flavoring in desserts – a tablespoon may be all you need. Follow-up with the same beer as an accompaniment. You may wish to warm the beer and enjoy as a sipper.
When pairing beer with desserts, look for beers that have similar qualities to the foods they serve. Keep in mind, however, that a super sweet dessert can sing with the high hoppiness of a double IPA or Belgian Tripel.
Chocolate loves strong, dark beers, particularly Belgian Strong Dark Ale, Barleywine, Robust Porter or Imperial Stout.
The best digestifs are strong and on the sweet side. Wood aged Barleywine, Imperial Stout, Scottish-Style Ale, Imperial Blonde, Robust Porter, Belgian Dark Strong Ale, Belgian Dubbel and Quadrupel, Rauchbier, Doppelbock, Eisbock, Olde Ale, or Christmas Seasonal.
Sippers – especially spiced beers - may be enjoyed slightly cooled or as a tasty warmed treat with an added cinnamon stick.
- Decadent Cheese Cake with Belgian Chocolate sauce, served with Belgian Strong Dark Ale
- Fruit Pies and Fruit Desserts, served with American Wheat beer or Belgian Witbier
- Oranges drenched in Belgian Witbier, served with Kriek
- Apple Bread Pudding made with Russian Imperial Stout – add a topping of caramelized pecans in sauce, and serve with an oak aged Belgian Tripel or BrewHouse Amber
- Dark Beer Cherry Sorbet, served with Belgian Dubbel
- Cherry Beer Ice Cream, served with Imperial Blonde
- Iced Walnut Souffle made with Aventinus Weizenbock, dressed with orange custard sauce and served with Biere Brut
- Chocolate mousse made with Vienna Style Lager, served with Doppelbock
- Laurel River Honey Swirls made with Dark Lager, served with Belgian Strong Ale
- Peach and Raspberry Crisp made with Summer Seasonal Wheat Ale, served with Belgian Tripel
- Fruit and Nut Breads made with Spiced Beer, served with Dopplebock
- Coconut Macaroons made with Sobo Ale, served with German Weizenbier
- German Chocolate Cake made with Schwarzbier, served with Belgian Strong Dark Ale
- Oatmeal Cookies made with Oatmeal Stout, served with Scottish-Style Ale
- New Orleans Pecan Pie made with American Strong Ale, served with Imperial Stout
- Chocolate Truffles made with Porter, served with Chocolate Stout
- Apple or Elderflower Fritters made with Dark Wheat Beer, served with Berliner Weisse
- Sugared Pecans made with India Pale Ale, served with American Barleywine
- Tiramisu made with Sweet Stout, served with Oatmeal Stout
Many people like cheeses as an after dinner treat – try cheeses from the Belgian Trappist monasteries: e.g., Grand Reserve with Chimay Trappist Cheese or Roquefort.
Other satisfying beer-cheese combinations are:
Barleywine and Stilton Cheese
IPA and Bleu Cheese
Hefeweizen and Chèvre
Fruit Beers and Brie
Stout and Aged Cheddar
Smoked Porter and Smoked Cheese
Other Recommended Dessert & Beer Pairings:
Banana Orange Crepes with Hefeweizen
- Lemon Custard Tart with Blonde Ale
Strawberry Shortcake with Witbier
Banana Cream Pie with Dunkelweizen
Flan or Crème Brulee with Pale Ale
Caramel Apple Tart with India Pale Ale
Lemon Pound Cake with Amber Red Ale
Lemon Shortbread and fresh berries with Pilsener
Fruit Trifle with Helles
Almond Biscotti with Oktoberfest or Marzen
Italian Canolli with Olde Ale
Toffee or Butterscotch Pudding with Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy
…and don’t forget the coffee with a splash of Russian Stout!