Halloween
isn’t just for kids. Those of us of legal drinking age — and with no desire to
squeeze into a sexy Bob Ross costume or paint our faces into a Marvel movie
character of choice — can still participate in the holiday in a very seminal
way. It’s easy, once you figure out that candy and beer go together.

Here are a
few guidelines:

Rules don’t
exist. if you like it, it’s a good pairing. Consider the intensity, texture and
flavor of both your candy and your beer. IPAs and imperials are big, strong
beers with a large, sometimes overwhelming flavor presence and higher alcohol
content. You need a candy to match that, one that can take a flavor punch.
Smooth beers, like stouts, go well with creamy textures, like white chocolate,
while highly carbonated beers and seltzers can help cut a sour candy.

After
extensive research and taste testing, I have come up with a list of local beer
and classic candy pairings. Every brewery currently open in the Triad has a
place on the list. This was a true test of wit, stout and imperial proportions.

As a
supertaster and culinary artisan, I am proud to present your weekend to-do list
while you’re snacking on candy at your favorite brewery.

Remember: No
matter what you end up with, you’re still drinking beer and eating candy and
that’s one of the best pairings there is.

CANDY
CORN

Foothills:
Hoppyum IPA

Natty
Greene’s
: Wildflower Witbier

This buttery
candy also works well with IPAs, pulling out the otherwise-hidden malt flavors.
The intensity of the candy corn’s sweetness will be tempered by the witbiers,
which will also bring out the candy’s caramel flavors.

STARBURST

Liberty:
Blackberry Wheat

Brown
Truck
: Dry Hopped Saison

The tart,
sweet notes of both beers complement the juicy, bursting fruit flavors of
Starburst without overwhelming the palate.

SNICKERS

South End:
The ‘Boro, American Brown Ale

Dark in
color, with sweet, caramel aromas and rich, roasty malt flavors, this ale cuts
through the caramel and the sugar even while the candy’s sweetness pulls out
the caramel in the beer. The peanuts act as a sprinkling of coarse salt to
finish this combo.

SKITTLES

Little
Brother
: Do Not Pass Gose (blood orange and cranberry)

Joymongers:
Lemon Lime Hard Seltzer

“It’s not
all beer and skittles” is a British phrase meaning it’s not all fun and games,
and it’s true. But the candy pairs well with the flavors of the rainbow, and
creates an impressive range of zesty, fruity notes not present in Skittles
alone.

HERSHEY’S
MILK CHOCOLATE BARS

Fiddlin’
Fish
: Black Mountain Chocolate Stout

This classic
pairing of chocolate and stout does not need much of an explanation beyond the
fact that it is, quite simply, made in heaven.

MILK DUDS

Pig
Pounder
: Warthog Rhapsody Coffee Imperial Stout

This caramel-covered
milk chocolate nugget helps create a balance between the robust coffee and
sweet, caramel notes of the beer to produce an evenly matched pairing.

PLAIN
M&MS

Incendiary:
Sweet Potato Porter

Full-bodied,
boozy and bold, this pairing has the double combination of a crisp, sugary
shell and milk chocolate to match with the roasted grains, chocolate and toffee
flavor profiles of this beer.

SMARTIES

Preyer:
Peelin’ Good Citrus Wheat

The mild,
tart-yet-sweet notes of the candy melt into the mild hop profile of this
citrus-focused beer.

REESE’S
PEANUT BUTTER CUPS

Wiseman:
Scoop Dog Cream Ale

Leveneleven
Brewing
: Witbier

Peanut
butter and chocolate are perfect on their own accord, but the fresh and crisp
hops of both the cream ale and the witbier freshen up the palate after eating
the candy.

BIT-O-HONEY

Hoots
Beer Co
.: Zinzendorf Oktoberfest

I’m not sure
if this candy still shows up in Halloween treat bags, but the strong caramel
flavors in both the beer and the candy set the stage for a double helping of
rich, caramel malts on the palate with a light honey-almond finish.

SOUR
PATCH KIDS

Goofy
Foot
: In The Pocket Pale Ale

Gibbs
Hundred Brewing
: Blind Man’s Holiday American Pale Ale

Small
Batch
: Lemon Man IPA

The sour
candies are vibrantly tart and juicy, which brings out the sweetness in the
ales. Aggressively hoppy for most, these beers have an initial floral taste
that rolls into a piney-citrus flavor on the palate that cuts through the sour
of the Sour Patch Kids.

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