Beer + Chocolate: Your DIY Pairing Guide

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Here's something fun you can try at your holiday gatherings: As you're handing your brother-in-law a beer, hand him a chunk of chocolate to go with it. Strange but true: When chosen carefully, chocolate and beer taste great together, as I found out firsthand the other night in Fremont.

It was another crazy sold-out event staged by Beer Church, the charity arm of the Washington Beer Blog as a fundraiser for FamilyWorks. When Kendall Jones first told me about BitterSweet: Craft Beer + Chocolate, my first reaction was, "Dang! That's my son's 12th birthday!" My second reaction was, "He'll get over it!"

So through the back door of Fremont Brewing we went, into a dimly lit back room festooned with fairy lights, kegs and piles and piles of chocolate. A collaboration of Kendall, Theo Chocolate and eight local craft breweries produced 16 tastes, with each brewery presenting two beers: one specialty beer created using the by-products of chocolate making, and one off their regular menu, paired with a carefully-selected Theo Chocolate.

You probably missed the event, but you can try some of the pairings at home, and your palate will thank you. Most of these beers are a tad tough to find "to go," but you can buy a growler at the brewery and bring it home for a group tasting.

Here are a few of my faves:

Black Raven's Mole Brown Porter + Theo Milk Salted Almond

Fremont Brewing's Abominale + Theo Coconut Curry

Geortown Brewing's Lucille + Theo Orange

Two Beers Immersion Amber + Theo Dark Toasted Coconut

Especially that first one. Try it and up your Thanksgiving cool quotient.