If flavor profiles were dating profiles, odds are chocolate and beer would totally hit it off. They’ve got a lot in common: a nurturing nature, interplay of sweet and bitter, the ability to light up a room (or mood) without even cracking a smile.
They might not seem an obvious couple, but give ‘em a try and you’ll find they “actually play off of each other pretty well,” said Sam Lang, co-owner of Cacao Chemistry in Colorado Springs. “Chocolate and beer can complement each other quite well.”
A good match can bring out each player’s best qualities. A great one can create something you never saw coming.
“Sometimes you’ll get entirely new tastes happening when you pair them together versus when you just have them by themselves,” said Lang.
A particular pairing might aim to achieve balance. For example, chocolate made with sea salt can tone down the bitterness of a beer.
Dialing down the sparks, or getting them to fly, isn’t just a question of compatibility.
“We’ve noticed that when we were trying to figure out what to pair with what, we found you don’t want to pair things that are too alike,” Lang said. “You want to match the sweetness level, but you don’t want to pair, like, a cherry beer with a cherry chocolate, because they kind of make each other taste flat. You want to pair things that are complementary, but not exactly alike.”
Kind of like with people?
“Yeah. You want to have some similarities, but not like you’re just repeating each other all the time,” Lang said.
Experience the curated culinary chemistry firsthand on Friday, when Cacao joins Storybook Brewing Co. for a Valentine’s Day beer and chocolate pairing at the North El Paso Street brewery. Beers will be paired with a selection of Cacao’s Valentine’s Day-themed truffles and barks, including Ruby chocolate, hazelnut, and dark chocolate Firework Bark, a secret menu item at Cacao’s tasting room.
And as a reminder that chocolate and beer’s relationship works on even deeper levels, Storybook will tap two brews to mark the occasion: a Chocolate Covered Cherry Stout and a White Chocolate Cherry Blonde.