Wash down those hol­i­day treats with these Easter-themed beer pair­ings,

Toronto Star - - TRAVEL & LIFE -

While it may not be the the­o­log­i­cal rea­son for Easter Sun­day, let’s just say that eat­ing is a highly an­tic­i­pated part of the hol­i­day in many house­holds. Whether it’s choco­late Easter bun­nies or a nice ham or leg of lamb at din­ner, it’s a hol­i­day made for graz­ing. Of course, to wash down all those hol­i­day treats, you’ll need a wor­thy beer or two. Here are a few sug­ges­tions on what you should be sip­ping next Sun­day. By Josh Ru­bin

The food: Choco­late The beer(s): Nickel Brook Old Ken­tucky Bas­tard ($15.95 per 750 mL bot­tle); Fly­ing Mon­keys The Choco­late Man­i­festo ($12.95 per 750 mL bot­tle) For­give the use of such pro­fane lan­guage on what is, af­ter all, a holy day. But this pair­ing is down­right divine. A rich, po­tent im­pe­rial stout (the orig­i­nal from Nickel Brook is called Bol­she­vik Bas­tard) has been blessed with ag­ing in bar­rels which pre­vi­ously held bour­bon. Ken­tucky’s best­known spirit con­trib­utes a bit of boozy punch, but also a vanilla note, which com­ple­ments the dark choco­late and cof­fee flavours found in the orig­i­nal brew. It’s a bold enough beer to stand up to milk choco­late, and also com­ple­ments dark choco­late rather well. (Best share this with friends, as it’s 10 per cent al­co­hol, and comes in a 750 mL bot­tle.)

You know what else goes with choco­late? Choco­late, of course. In this case, Fly­ing Mon­keys has made a lux­u­ri­ous, choco­holic’s de­light of a brew, con­tain­ing raw ca­cao nibs and ca­cao pow­der. There’s also an added layer of sweet­ness thanks to the in­clu­sion of milk sugar (so be sure your lac­tose-avoid­ing guests don’t sip this one).

The food: White choco­late The beer: Fruli ($13.20 per four pack) There aren’t many beers sweet enough to stand up to the sug­ary de­lights of white choco­late. This slightly cloudy red brew is one of them. The base beer is a Bel­gian wit­bier, with a touch of or­ange peel. To that is added straw­berry juice. Well-chilled, it’s not a bad lit­tle dessert beer at all. Es­pe­cially if that dessert’s a white choco­late Easter bunny. (It’s also not bad with a berry crum­ble, for the record.)

The food: Ham The beer and the cider: Fuller’s ESB ($2.95 per 500 mL can) and Spirit Tree Draught Cider ($3.20 per 473 mL can) A bit of sweet­ness goes nicely with the salti­ness of a good ham (that’s one rea­son why they’re of­ten glazed with brown sugar, honey or maple syrup). And that’s just what this amber-coloured brew from Lon­don’s big­gest in­de­pen­dent brew­ery has got. There’s a touch of caramel in the aroma and flavour, as well as a bit of brown sugar. But there’s a de­cent hit of bit­ter­ness on the fin­ish, mak­ing this a won­der­fully-bal­anced brew (the ESB, by the way, stands for Ex­tra Spe­cial Bit­ter).

Pork of al­most all kinds, of course, also tends to do rather well with ap­ples. Usu­ally, those ap­ples are roasted, or in sauce form. But this ever-so-slightly tart, fruity cider is also a wor­thy match. The food: Leg of lamb The beer(s): Rochefort 10 ($4.30 per 330 mL bot­tle) and Dop­pel Hirsch ($3.80 per 500 mL bot­tle) This first one should make up for the pro­fane name of the beer a lit­tle fur­ther up this list. Rochefort is pro­duced at the Trap­pist monastery of Notre Dame de Saint Remy. The brew­ery, while mostly staffed by sec­u­lar work­ers, is un­der the su­per­vi­sion of the monks. The “10” is the brew­ery’s most deca­dent beer. There are notes of dried fruit, dark choco­late, and even a hint of spice. There’s also some sweet­ness, but the sweet­ness is some­what tem­pered by a slightly bit­ter fin­ish, as well as the rel­a­tively high al­co­hol con­tent. (While it’s bot­tled at roughly 11.5 per cent al­co­hol, it can of­ten get a bit stronger by the time it gets to you, as it’s a bot­tle-con­di­tioned brew, mean­ing there’s still live yeast in the bot­tle). The dark dried fruit and rich­ness of this brew make it an out­stand­ing match for a leg of lamb.

There’s also some sweet­ness and a hint of raisin char­ac­ter in Dop­pel Hirsch, a Ger­man brew in the dou­ble bock style. It’s es­pe­cially fit­ting be­cause bocks and dou­ble bocks were, ac­cord­ing to tra­di­tional ac­counts, con­sumed by monks who’d oth­er­wise be fast­ing dur­ing lent.

The food: Peeps The beer: If you’re of le­gal drink­ing age, you should re­ally no longer be eat­ing Peeps. Well, nei­ther should lit­tle kids, be­cause Peeps are ter­ri­ble, though ubiq­ui­tous. If you don’t know what Peeps are, con­sider your­self for­tu­nate, in­deed. josh@thes­tar.ca


A savoury roast leg of lamb with sides can be per­fectly paired with a sweet bot­tled brew.


Rochefort 10 at $4.30 per bot­tle is a per­fect match for a leg of lamb.

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