Beer and cookies can be a perfect pairing to bring out nuances of flavor.
San Francisco’s Cervecería de MateVeza recently set the Internet abuzz by brewing a batch of Girl Scout cookie-flavored beers. While you’ll probably never get to taste these one-and-done brews, it’s easy to experience the magical tastes of your favorite Girl Scout cookies and beer right in your own home. Forget cookies and milk, let’s pair some cookies and beer!
If you decide to try this (and why wouldn’t you?), I recommend crunching up a whole cookie in your mouth, and then taking a small sip of beer. Let the cookies be the star here, it’s their season to shine; too much beer throws the party out of whack.
These crispy wafers covered in chocolate infused with peppermint oil are perhaps the world’s most perfect cookie, especially when paired with the right beer. I chose a Great Divide Yeti, a 9.5 percent ABV imperial stout with a broad flavor of roasted malts, chocolate and nice hop kick on the finish. Mixing a Thin Mint and the Yeti brings out the best in each, as the bright mint of the cookie plays well with the bitter hops of the beer, and the rich ribbons of chocolate in the Yeti’s taste are pulled to the forefront by the cookie’s wafer and coating.
I can’t get enough of these crispy wafers enrobed in toasted coconut and chocolate, and few styles of beer bring out the best in Somoas better than a Scotch ale. In this case, I used Founders Dirty Bastard, an 8.5 percent ABV wee heavy ale whose thick band of malty sweetness combines with the lush coconut and chocolate of the cookie to bring both to new heights of deliciousness.
It’s been forever since I’ve had a Tagalong, and that’s a shame, because these chocolate-covered mounds of crispy cookie and peanut butter are delicious. I decided to recreate one of my favorite childhood treats by pairing Tagalongs with Lindeman’s Framboise, a Belgian ale blended with raspberries. The beer’s sweet fruitiness combines with the Tagalong’s peanut butter and cookie base to evoke memories of sitting on the shag rug in the family room and making peanut butter and raspberry jelly graham cracker sandwiches while watching “The Brady Bunch.” Good times, good times.
These classic old-lady shortbread cookies are a study in delicious understatement, with a broad sweet vanilla flavor and just a hint of salt to set the whole thing off. For this tasting, I put them together with Bridgeport’s Smooth Ryed, a 6.3 percent ABV rye ale that’s quite peppery up front and mellow in the back. I dipped the Trefoil in the beer, and got a little hit of pepper, followed by a rich dry chocolate that faded to a lovely salted caramel flavor. Grandma would approve!
Do-si-dos are sandwich cookies consisting of two oatmeal wafers with a pad of peanut butter in between. Great things happen when you pair them with Dogfish Head’s latest Frakenbeer – Sixty-One, a 6.5 percent ABV mash up of their classic 60 minute IPA brewed with Syrah grape must. While the beer has a very tart wine-like finish, the sweetness of the grapes leaps forth when paired with a Do-si-do, and mixes with the peanut butter in sweet and savory square dance for your senses. Swing your partner round ‘n round!
Dulce de Leche
These cookies infused with caramel chips are a great companion for super-hoppy beers, as their bright caramel sweetness buttresses the beer’s malt profile to bring a new balance to the whole affair. I paired these little gems with Kona Koko Brown, a 5.5 percent ABV ale brewed with toasted coconut that I thought would go well with Samoas. But they didn’t, due to its assertive hop profile. However, the Dulce de Leche’s caramel tamed the beastly hops up front, and let the coconut and sweet malts really shine in the back end of the flavor.
The truth is, many of these beers and cookies pair well, with each unique combination pulling out various bits of flavor from both. Experiment and have fun – you can’t go wrong with cookies and beer.
Now if only the Boy Scouts would start selling artisanal bacon outside my grocery store…