If you've been following our beer adventures for a while you might have figured out we have a thing for pairing beer with some unlikely subjects (like Halloween or Easter candy). Well, hold on to your hats because things are about to get REAL weird.
Resulting out of some beer consumed with a last bit of ice cream, you know, the melt-y stuff at the bottom of your bowl/pint/quart, we rounded up seven varieties of coffee creamer (you heard that right). There were some "regular" flavors - French Vanilla, Hazelnut and Vanilla Caramel - and others that started going further afield - Almond Roca, Bailey's Irish Cream, Peppermint Mocha and Bailey's Mudslide. As is pretty easy to surmise, stouts were the most suitable for pairing.
- Fremont Dark Star imperial oatmeal stout had its 8% ABV mellowed by the Darigold Almond Roca and its roastiness kept the creamer from being too sweet.
- Ten FIDY, the big 10.5% double stout from Oskar Blues, made for a nice sipper with the CoffeeMate Peppermint Mocha.
- StormBreaker Opacus oatmeal stout, clocking in at a sessionable 5%, was the most mixable of the beers, combining nicely with Darigold Vanilla Caramel, Darigold Hazelnut and CoffeeMate Peppermint Mocha. In fact, if you'll be having guests around Christmastime, grab some of that Peppermint Mocha either for use in your glass with some Opacus or in your great aunt's coffee. You won't regret it.
- Pelican Tsunami Stout, of the foreign/export variety, was the most coffee-like and combined with Bailey's Irish Cream for something we'd be delighted to find in our mug on a lazy weekend morning.
- Ale Smith Nut Brown's nutty profile found pairings with both of the nut-flavored creamers - Darigold Almond Roca and Darigold Hazelnut.
Even more successful than the dark beers, especially if you're looking for something lighter, were three fruit beer/ciders with Darigold French Vanilla. Stiegl Radler was the crowd favorite that when blended with the creamer came out tasting like an orange creamsicle. Why a grapefruit beer should combine with a vanilla milky substance to produce orange is beyond us. This however was a delicious, super low ABV creation.
A close second was Cider Riot! Berry cider, for a "berrysicle" and then interestingly, Lindeman's Peche. Instead of the sourness of the beer clashing, it pleasantly offset the creaminess. Another "you wouldn't think so" combination was the Cider Riot Berry with Darigold Hazelnut. Not assertive enough to be labeled as a pb&j flavor profile, it's the closest thing we can liken it to.
If you've been keeping track you may have noticed that we haven't mentioned what beer went with the Bailey's Mudslide. That's because there weren't any. We found there to be a strange, chemical taste and while we can't confirm the same would be true if it were put in a cup of coffee it seems prudent to simply avoid it. We chalked it up to "you can't know until you try" and the spirit of exploration that we went into this little experiment with.
Thanks to those brave souls that tried these combos out with us - Chris, Sean, Nicole, Caren, Zach and Mike, to name a few!