BUNNIES AND BREWS
Wash down those holiday treats with these Easter-themed beer pairings,
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. email@example.com
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.