Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Beer & Girl Scout Cookies Pairing Year IV, Part II

Last week, on Pi Day, we dove in to part II of this year's Girl Scout cookies and beer pairing. On the docket were:
- Thin Mints
- Caramel de-Lites/Samoas
- Do-Si-Dos/Peanut Butter Sandwich
- Tagalongs/Peanut Butter Patties
- Toffee-tastic (gluten-free)

Since our venue happened to have 2013 Alaskan Brewing Barleywine on tap and previous years had taught us that chocolate cookies, which were most of what we had in front of us that day, went well with darker beers like this Chris had to go for it. Although four years old, the beer retained a boozy profile that ended up working well with the Thin Mints, the mint negating that booziness and the beer amping up the mintiness of the cookies. Another big boy - the 18% Dogfish Head World Wide Stout - also found a companion in the Thin Mints. Mag, not one for big beers like these, found Half Acre Daisy Cutter pale ale to be a nice complement to this staple of the cookie line up.

Samoas, a cookie some of our pairing group love and others really don't, can be challenging to pair both because of the overt sweetness and the coconut. Here we found Cascadia Ciderworkers Berry's combination of blackberry, blueberry and cranberry to be quite complimentary to the coconut, to such an extent that the caramel and chocolate flavors nearly vanished. The big Dogfish Head stout also paired well with the overt sweetness of the cookie and the 18% ABV balancing one another.

Switching from chocolate to peanut butter, the Cascadia cider also went nicely with the Tagalongs to provide a peanut butter and jelly sandwich flavor combination. Working off of our love of coffee and coffee beers we opened a beer from a new-to-this-market brewery, Modern Times, their Black House coffee beer. Presenting a strong roasty aroma and flavor it enhanced the peanut butter qualities of this cookie, muscling the chocolate component to the back seat. Once again, diverging from a similar flavor profile and towards a complimentary one, the Half Acre Daisy Cutter hit the mark.

The other peanut butter cookie, Do-Si-Dos, went best with Modern Times Black House, the combination being reminiscent of a cup of coffee and a slice of toast topped with peanut butter. Sounds like a good way to start the day, right? Chris happened to have a Golden Road 329 (lager) open and while the beer itself was sweeter on its own than he would prefer it actually worked with this cookie, confirming Craft Beer & Brewing's recommendation of a malty lager.

Finally, the sole gluten-free cookie of the bunch, Toffee-tastic. It's a cookie that we unanimously like on its own, in large part because of its strong butteriness. It was due to that butter profile (similar to Trefoils) that it worked with and was balanced by the Alaskan Barleywine. With the Modern Times coffee beer it was similar to enjoying an iced coffee and a butter biscotti. And for the an all around gluten-free experience we recommend Magner's Original Irish Cider. The apple-toffee combo played off one another, each enhancing the flavors of the other.

Huge thanks to Chris for procuring the cookies, especially the out of market ones, and being an eager participant along with Mag and the many friends who helped consume All. These. Cookies.

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