I love my job. There are days when I love it more than others, and this was one of those days. The company put on a Chocolate Pairing Event. You could choose between a wine or beer pairing. I've done a lot of wine pairing in the last few years, so I was really excited about partaking in something new and exciting - the beer & chocolate pairing.
Even more palatable was the fact that the Trogner Brothers, of Troegs Brewery in Harrisburg, PA, were in the house, unveiling their latest "scratch" beer, which is akin to their Limited Edition line. This beer was a Chocolate Stout, developed with the Hershey R&D team. Here's what you missed:
• Whoppers with Troegs Pale Ale - Wow, Whoppers? Really? Never would have thought to pair this together, but I'm glad they did. The bitterness of the Pale Ale and the cloying sweetness of Whoppers offset each other really, really well. This was one of my favorite pairings of the evening.
• Hershey's Extra Dark with Pomegranate with Magic Hat #9 Almost Pale Ale - Ambivalent. I love the apricot aroma of Magic Hat, and it was overcome by the Pomegranate Dark Chocolate
• Bliss Meltaway Milk Chocolate with Tommyknocker Cocoa Porter - First of all, I'm not a fan of the Tommyknocker Cocoa Porter. There was a strong overroasted taste to it that was all-pervasive. An overroasting flavor with even one of my favorite chocolates? Ended up being a bit odd.
• Bliss Dark Chocolate with Wells Banana Bread Beer - I kept hearing a lot of amped chatter about the surprising flavor of a banana bread beer. Me? I thought it was delicious, and I thought this was a really interesting pairing, bringing in the dark chocolate aspect (Bliss is one of the best dark chocolates, imho) into an already interesting beer.
• Scharffen Berger Bittersweet Dark Chocolate (70% Cacao) with Troegs/Scharffen Berger Chocolate Stout - This was the beer of the evening. Made with the Hershey team and integrating lots and lots of some of the best nibs in the market - Scharffen Berger - this was like drinking smooth jazz. It's so good, it's hard to put anything else in your mouth, and I thought the 70% Cacao chocolate was a bit too overpowering, as if there was a fast-paced and jarring refrain during the jazz jam, just to see if everyone was awake.
Now, this pairing was not officially on the menu, but I deemed it to be the BEST PAIRING of the evening. This is the Scharffen Berger Chocolate Stout in its very hip and rustic-looking bottle. It was paired with milk chocolate covered strawberries from the wine pairing, and it was utterly, orgasmically divine.
And for beer lovers everywhere, I couldn't help but take a picture of the lineup. Beer labels are, to me, the new art. Beauty...