What Santa Really Wants with his Cookies this Year

6 Beer and Cookie Pairings

Rob Symes

We’re not going to argue that anything can beat a glass of milk when it comes to finding the perfect partner for a cookie session. However, you are a beer person, so if you’re willing to think outside of the box, there are some intriguing beer combinations to try.

 

Chocolate Cookies and Belgian Strong Dark Ales

Imperial Stouts may be the obvious choice here, but you’ll find many of the same notes in the best Belgian ales, but with a bonus spiciness from the yeast profile. Rochefort and St Bernardus are great pairing options because their robust flavours can more than hold their own, while the higher alcohol content mingles with the chocolate to provide a truly decadent finish. 

Chocolate Chip Cookies and Barrel-Aged Beer

Rich chocolate flavours with a residual sweetness and hints of vanilla. It’s no wonder that chocolate chip is the king of the cookie hill. By pairing it with barrel-aged beer you can highlight the vanilla, while coaxing new notes out of the chocolate. Barrels can lend a distinctive spiciness to a brew, and that can aid even the most plain jane cookie.

Ginger Cookies and English IPAs

English IPAs have a spiciness that their American counterparts often lack, and that makes them perfect in this combo, where they can pull out the ginger and other spice notes from the cookie. In addition, English IPAs may have marmalade notes, and you’ll be surprised by how well this works with the ginger.

 

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and Sour Ales

If there’s a cookie that has at least a pretence of healthy, it’s oatmeal raisin. However, the chewy, gluey mouthfeel can really coat the mouth and remind you of your morning bowl of porridge. The answer is to cleanse the palate with something acidic and light. Any sour ale would make a good suitor, but the perfect match may be a flanders red or fruited sour, where the raisins can find their reflection.

Sugar Cookies and Barleywines

The sugar cookie is a holiday staple with a limited ingredient list, but when done correctly, it delivers a buttery, sugary punch. The smooth caramel notes of a barleywine can pick up on this, while adding some layers of complexity. The higher alcohol content and any prominent hopping can round off the palate into a satisfying finish, leaving you ready for the next bite.

Salted Caramel Cookies and Old Ales

When my son brought home a tub of this cookie dough, much experimentation was had before I realized that not only did it require something with toffee-like malts, but also something that could clip a potentially too-sweet finish. Old Ales tend to have a higher alcohol content, as well as a robust malt profile, so they deliver on both fronts.

While the suggestions above are a good start, you may want to try to find your own unique pairing. If you adopt this approach we have two recommendations to make. Firstly, have an open mind. Sure, there are tried and true styles, but do you really want to close off potential surprise hits? Secondly, there’s an inherent riskiness that you’ll screw up big time, so have a couple beers on hand. Hopefully one of them will work, and if not, at least you’ve got a head start on forgetting your failure.