Sometimes I feel sorry for wine. Areas in which it once stood alone – association with terroir, pairings with steak – are being taken over by other alcoholic beverage categories. And now, it no longer stands alone in the world of romance. Of all beverages, it’s beer leading the charge, with Boston brewers Samuel Adams figuring out that their flagship Boston Lager pairs perfectly with chocolate. But not just any chocolate, of course. For romantic occasions such as Valentine’s Day, you want the fancy stuff, like PureNotes Dark "Chocolatey" chocolate from San Francisco chocolatier TCHO. I tried this pairing and figured out why it works so well.
Don’t get me wrong, wine and chocolate aren’t getting a divorce any time soon. But beer is an exciting interloper in the relationship, because it does things that wine won’t or can’t do. While wine complements chocolate on the fruity side of things, the malt and hops of beer provide a dry counterpoint to the sweetness of the chocolate, bringing out a whole range of complex flavors. When you pop a square of TCHO’s 70% cacao chocolate into your gob and then take a pull of Boston Lager, it’s hard to figure out where the chocolate ends and the beer begins. Two become one, like lovers’ hearts on Valentine’s Day. And just when those flavors melt into your mouth, the carbonation comes along to shake things up and prep you for another go. It’s a sexy pairing that’s easy to enjoy, and with lager’s lower alcohol content, the night can go on and on.
To try this pairing yourself, get yourself a Samuel Adams Love of Beer Chocolate Box for $16.95 (you can order it here) and a six-pack of Samuel Adams Boston Lager. The candles, mood music, and smooth talk are up to you.