It’s spring, time for chocolate and beer!

Beer

Written by international beer sommelier Arvid Bergström

It is almost Easter. Easter means enjoying chocolate, looking for the easter bunny and eggs. Lots and lots of eggs. Spring is the time that nature starts growing and blossoming again. Everything gets brighter and sunnier.

When I was a kid, I used to go to my friend’s place and his mom would have turned the whole place into spring theme. First there were the spring cleanings and then the place would be decorated with green branches, pastel colored bows and fluffy chicks.

I couldn’t get enough of all of it, including the easter eggs of course. There was another favorite moment of mine: the easter egg hunt. Though I liked the hiding better than the searching. Easter egg hunts are an old Germanic tradition. People believed that by burying eggs, the symbol of fertility, in the fields, the lands would become more fertile.

Luckily for us, we now have chocolate eggs as well. There used to be three options: dark, milk and white chocolate, but nowadays the choices are endless. Think of praline, hazelnut, marzipan and liquor flavored versions. Chocolate is made of cocoa beans. The funny thing is that to create chocolate the beans have to be fermented and dried. Just like the grains in beer. We see a connection here!

For brewing beer you use the basic ingredients water, malt, hops and yeast. The sugars from the malt (made of grains) are ‘eaten’ by the yeast. They turn them into alcohol and carbon dioxide and more aromas.

In spring, breweries bring out their spring beer. Often this is a MaiBock. It is usually a light-colored beer with around 6.5% alcohol, slightly bitter, with a nice sweet aftertaste. These beers are obviously best enjoyed on a sunny terrace!

As I specialize in food-beer-pairing, there is nothing I like better than to taste beers and combine them with a matching foodtype. I tasted some amazing beers and matched them to the three main flavors of chocolate eggs: dark, milk and white.

I recommend that this Easter you create your own little tasting, in the following order:

  • Start with a Session IPA or Weizen in combination with a milk chocolate egg
  • Followed by a Spring Bock with a white chocolate egg
  • Finish with a Barley Wine in combination with a dark chocolate egg for some kick

Do you happen to have a chocolate egg with hazelnut filling? These combine beautifully with a Dubbel (Double).

Are you planning to make a complete Easter meal for the family? I have some recommendations here as well. Choose a Tripel (Triple) with an alcohol percentage between 8 and 9 %. Serve it with roasted lamb ham and honey mustard sauce drizzled over it. The sweet-fruity character is in line with the honey, while the bitterness is tempered by the saltiness of the ham. Serve the ham with oven roasted potatoes and some grilled spring veggies!

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