Prepare thyself for this Valentine’s Day by getting in the know on what drinks and treats you should be indulging in for the holiday. On Sunday, Feb. 10, Seattle beer icon Pike Brewing Co. is putting on its annual Chocofest — an event marrying your two favorite things together, beer and chocolate, benefiting the Washington Trails Association. Pike co-founder and owner Rose Ann Finkel, who spearheads the event, explains the classic pairing.
“Anything bread goes with, beer goes with,” Finkel says. Think about the classic ice cream and cake pairing: beer is ultimately made of grains, which is what bread is made of, and why it inherently mingles with chocolate.
Here are five beer and chocolate pairings Finkel recommends you try at home or at the upcoming Chocofest.
Fran’s Salted Caramels with Stout
Finkel says these Seattle-made salted caramels can stand up to any dark beer, like Pike’s XXXXX stout. The salt can cut through the richness of the stout and, while you can pair it with any salted caramel, Fran’s are a splurge and it’s Valentine’s Day so there’s really no excuse.
Dark Chocolate with Brut IPA
“The brut IPA is generally very, very dry but we balanced [our Third Story Mimosa IPA] finishing it with blood oranges so it gives it a little softer fruit character along with the dryness,” she says. Because of that bone-dry character, any Brut IPA makes a solid partner for dark chocolate or sweets with honey in them.
Spiced or Spicy Chocolate with IPA
Finkel specifically calls out one of the vendors she knows will be at Chocofest this year, Hot Chocolat, a chocolate company that makes sweets with a little spice to them. “Pepper and chocolate have a great affinity for each other so if you pair that with an IPA or a stout or even a lighter beer like a pilsner,” Finkel says.
Caramel with Scotch Ale
Pike’s Kilt Lifter is a scotch ale, so it already has hints those caramel flavors, making it a natural fit with caramel. Finkel says that the smoky flavor of the ale is what clicks, suggests that whiskey might do the trick as well. Chocofest may be centered on beer and chocolate but Finkel explains that there will be distilleries, cideries and wineries present alongside restaurants providing bites for a savory option.
Lemon Gelato with Citrus IPA
While it depends of course on what gelato flavor you end up going for, Finkel suggests a nice citrus IPA with with a citrus gelato like lemon that would be aromatic. If you want to get fancy with it all, she describes the beer floats Pike offers which you too can create at home. Whether you’re going the citrus route or perhaps a chocolate route with a nice stout it’s undeniable that ice cream and beer are a match made in heaven.