Looking for something to do for Halloween? Join us for Spooky Brews, a Halloween party and craft beer festival, in Boston, MA on October 26th.
There’s nothing quite like Halloween candy. After spending hours trick-or-treating in your sweaty costume, you’d return home with all your friends and count up your loot, trading away candy you weren’t interested in. It sounds a lot like modern craft beer with Instagram photos of hazy IPA hauls, fanatics searching the web for rare beers, and friends swapping cans of local brews.
To get you in the mood for Halloween, the Hop Culture team picked out our favorite beer and Halloween candy pairings.
Moves Like Jaggery, a collab between Southern Grist and J. Wakefield, is modeled after Watalppan, a Sri Lankan dessert. Brewed with coconut, jaggery (a cane sugar), toasted coconut, cardamom, clove, and nutmeg, it’s a sweet dessert stout that I indulged in quite liberally at Barreled Solstice, the fourth anniversary party of one of my favorite breweries in the country (Barreled Souls in Saco, Maine, woo!). Combining Moves Like Jaggery with the smooth chocolate and caramel flavors of a tasty Twix might be dessert overload, but I’m not above too much of a good thing.
-Kenny Gould, Co-Founder
I could tell you all about my regular day-to-day candy vices, but I’m not here to gab about my habit of finishing “sharing size” bags of Dark Chocolate Peanut M&Ms in one sitting. Halloween candy is in a league of its own. I’m always partial to a classic Kit Kat or banana flavored Laffy Taffy. Even Almond Joys! But the candy that gets me most riled up is our often forgotten friends, Milk Duds. Coming in the cutest little boxes, the tiny, über chewy, chocolate-covered caramels will make you work for them. My jaw is hurting just thinking about it. In fact, I even lost a baby tooth to a Milk Dud back in the day. But hey, if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.
If you’re going to be potentially losing a tooth or two on this journey, we need something packing heat. Dancing Gnome took Black Clouds, their American Imperial Stout aged on brown sugar and maple syrup, and conditioned it on a heck of a lot of vanilla yielding this thicc and tasty rendition, Black Clouds Double Vanilla. You’ll be so far deep in vanilla la-la-land you won’t even notice that this guy is coming in at 11%. And that you’ve got a couple dangling molars.
-Olivia Hurley, Operations Manager
Skittles are democratic. There’s no high-minded discourse on the merits of “milk” vs. “dark”. There are no delusions of grandeur — “Well, every Friday night we split one square of single origin 99% Cacao chocolate with dinner. It’s for our health!” And it’s not exclusively milk’s favorite anything. It’s just itself. It is confidence.
Everyone likes Skittles. Evolutionarily speaking, it’s impossible not to. You might not like how it gets stuck in your teeth, or the fact that you get those “sugar sweats” and start tapping your foot uncontrollably. But pop a yellow or a red or a green (honestly, I’m unsure if there’s any difference besides food dye) and welcome the endorphins.
Humans took corn, sprinkled in some food coloring, and cooked it down until all that was left was a bag of high fructose humanity. This is the same thinking behind quick and dirty kettle sours, like Pineapple Raspberry Hill. No barrels needed — just sour, fruit, and let’s go. I love the honesty.
-Travis Smith, Founder
Hershey’s OG Chocolate Bar
Beer: Levante, Mercurial Silk
Bringing together my hometown and college town with this chocolatey combination. Mercurial Silk, an Imperial Milk Stout that was recently released by Levante Brewing Co. out of West Chester, PA. This sweet behemoth is brewed with tons of Ghirardelli cacao powder and cacao nibs which gives this beer a sweet and smooth profile even though it clocks in at 12% ABV. What else could pair better with a chocolatey, creamy stout than a classic Hershey’s chocolate bar, because can there actually ever be too much chocolate? As a chocoholic myself, the answer is no. I would love chocolate on my chocolate please.
-Lowell Lindeman, Design Intern
REESE’S Peanut Butter Cup
This is how you eat a REESE’S. First, place the obscenely orange package in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Once the candy has been properly chilled, tear off the wrapper and discard. Peel back the crackly layer of foil and gently gnaw at the ridged outside. Turn the cup in a 360-degree circle until you’ve completely inhaled the pointy stakes, leaving an unexposed ring of pure chocolatey, peanut buttery bliss. Pop the whole heavenly halo into your mouth. Repeat.
If I had to choose one ingredient to eat for the rest of my life peanut butter would win the cup, literally. Unsurprisingly, I’ve combined my favorite food with its best liquid brethren for the ultimate Halloween mash up. For a completely decadent experience, pour yourself a Du Claw’s Sweet Baby Jesus Peanut Butter Porter to sip next to your candy collection. The indulgent notes of chocolate, peanut butter, and coffee cozy up to a luxuriously creamy body. A GABF medal winner, this pastry-like porter pairs perfectly with Hershey’s coveted creation. Nibble, sip, pop, repeat. This pairing will have you saying Sweet Baby REESE’S!
-Grace Weitz, Marketing Manager
Look, I know Dots are widely regarded as terrible Halloween candy, but I truly love them (also Grace took my true favorite candy and the indisputable best Halloween candy: Reese’s Cups). I don’t care that they invariably get stuck between your teeth. I was always stoked to get a little box of dots in my Halloween bag. And I would gladly take them from the losers who didn’t understand how great these are.
And for my beer pairing, I’m going with Yacht Party from Charles Towne Fermentory. Like Dots, pilsners are often overlooked as a beer style and Yacht Party is a great pilsner. Unfussy and a perfect balance to the intense sweetness from a red gumdrop. Put on some Kenny Loggins, crack open a pilsner, and you’re ready for a Yacht Party.
-John A. Paradiso, Assistant Editor
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