CANDY + BEER

candy20
candy20

Halloween means different things to different people, and of course, this has a lot to do with age. For a 5 year old it's all about dressing up as your favourite superhero or scary monster. To a 20 year old, showing a lot of skin. And for those who are getting 'up there' (no specifics needed), it's just another holiday comprised of shameful caloric blitzkriegs. Ah, guilt, you old familiar friend!

The truth is, our message today is all about saving the children, because a) we wouldn't want them to be consuming all that awful sugar, and b) we need something to absolve us of all this aforementioned guilt -- and that's exactly why we should direct it away from them and into our own gullets. But did you ever stop to consider that candy, like anything else in the known world, is made better with the addition of beer?

Yes, it's true, so purists and nay-sayers be damned! Much thought has been given to beer with BBQ, beer with spicy food, or beer with cheese -- but today we're venturing ever so slightly off the beaten path. And, sure, maybe these aren't the most refined pairings we'll ever suggest, perhaps the idea even started as a joke (that quickly became very serious after some difficult research), but they're honest. From our hearts to yours, on the most sugary day of the year, some candy for contemplation.

Stay Classy and Gummy Bears
Stay Classy and Gummy Bears

1. STAY CLASSY Light Session Ale + GUMMY BEARS This one is rather like an appetizer or amuse bouche to get the night rolling. As the first trick-or-treaters come a knocking, crack a light and easy-drinking Stay Classy and enjoy it with gummy bears. Both the candy and the beer possess soft fruity flavours that work together more effortlessly than you might think. The juicy citrus nose on Stay Classy compliments the vaguely authentic fruit flavours in the gummy bears, and you find yourself mindlessly going back for handfuls and gulps. Whether or not this is a good thing is yet to be determined.

Rodenbach and Reeses
Rodenbach and Reeses

2. RODENBACH GRAND CRU + REESES PEANUT BUTTER CUPS This is one that really spoke to me, and also made me embarrassed that I had never thought of it before. By pairing a Flanders Red, Kriek, or even a raspberry beer (Belgian or otherwise) with the artificial peanut butter that makes candy so addictive, you arrive at some sort of other-worldly PB and J concoction. Our own preference is to use Rodenbach in the pairing, because it's beautifully sour and not that sweet, but the Mort Subite (Framboise or Kriek) that they sell at the LCBO works well too. A bite of peanut butter cup and a swig of Rodenbach and -- look at that, did you just win two tickets to Yum Town?!

Yes, yes you did.

Grizzly Beer
Grizzly Beer

3. GRIZZLY BEER + PEANUT M&Ms This American brown ale presents contrasting flavours of caramelized malts and bright hoppy bitterness, and would work well with chocolate, but again, that's just too pedestrian. I'll tell you what isn't pedestrian, though -- Peanut M&Ms. These are a precious delicacy fit for a queen, but also for Grizzly Beer. Something about the addition of salty peanuts lends new balance to the equation and before you know it, the hops have cleansed your palate of the chocolatey sweetness and you have to try the duo all over again "just to remember".

Witchshark and Starburst
Witchshark and Starburst

4. WITCHSHARK IMPERIAL IPA + STARBURST Witchshark is a bold beer that holds both hops and malts in a delicate balance, and it makes sense to pair it with similar juicy fruit flavours in a candy. Though all the colours work well enough, specifically the lemon/yellow starburst paired with a swig of this hoppy IIPA is quite magical. Honourable mention goes to the strawberry flavour, as it effortlessly enhances the prominent mango aromatics of the beer.

There are more candy + beer pairings that we experimented with, but we didn't want to recommend too many beer styles that would be hard to get your hands on in Ontario. However, if any of you suffer from the common affliction known as Hoarding Beer Cellaring Disease, and have some interesting styles on hand, we also love the idea of: gueuze + wine gums, Bellwoods Donkey Venom + Glosette raisins, porter + dark chocolate w/sea salt, and Bellwoods Bounty Hunter + Bounty chocolate bar because c'mon!

Up next week, The Perfect Beer To Pair With Brushing Your Teeth, and 5 Beers To Enjoy In Your Dentist's Waiting Room!