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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.