Nothing complements a snowy night like a rich and velvety winter beer—all the better when it's paired with dessert. We asked local brewers to share their preferred end-of-the-meal combos. Here, a few of our favorites.
Oskar Blues' Old Chub with Slice O' Life fruitcake. Marty Jones, spokesman for Oskar Blues, is quick to defend the tarnished reputation of fruitcake by recommending a variation from Slice O' Life, a Palisade bakery. "Their fruitcakes are nothing like the sticky, sweet things that most folks know," Jones says. These treats are made with local fruit that's aged slowly in rum—and the apples, peaches, and cherries are complemented by Old Chub's cocoa and malt flavors.
Great Divide's Old Ruffian barley wine with plum pudding and brandy hard sauce. Brian Dunn, president of Great Divide, swears by the pairing of plum pudding's flavors—suet, mincemeat, and candied fruit—with Old Ruffian's creamy caramel taste and its grapefruit, pine, and floral aromas.
Avery Brewing's Mephistopheles' Stout with Mephistopheles' chocolate cake. Peter Archer, marketing director for Avery Brewing, makes a tasty recipe by substituting Mephistopheles' Stout for the water in a Betty Crocker triple-chocolate fudge cake mix. The beer imparts a velvety flavor of rum-soaked dark fruits, espresso, and chocolate-covered cherries to the chocolaty dessert.
Left Hand Brewing's Imperial Stout with Imperial Stout brownies. When one of Left Hand Brewing's tasting room regulars created a raspberry brownie recipe (recipe below, and pictured) using Imperial Stout, it soon became a brewery favorite. Vice president of operations Chris Lennert says, not surprisingly, that the treat pairs perfectly with a pint of the stout itself.
Left Hand Imperial Stout Brownies
- ¾ cup butter
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 3 eggs
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1-1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup flour
- 2 ounces Left Hand Imperial Stout
- ½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
- 4 ounces seedless raspberry jam (in a pastry tube)
- 4 ounces semisweet chocolate chipsK
Preheat oven to 350°. Melt butter and chocolate together and cool. Beat eggs, sugar, and extract together until thick. Add cooled chocolate and butter; blend until smooth. Mix in flour, Imperial Stout, and pecans, and blend until smooth. Pour into a greased 9x13-inch pan. Pipe jam evenly on top, and bake for 35 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Pop back into oven for a few minutes to melt, then gently spread chocolate evenly. Enjoy with the remaining 10 ounces of Imperial Stout.