Dark beer still seems to hold onto it’s bad reputation. The rumors that surround dark beer include that they are all heavy, filling, too rich, bitter, strong, and full of alcohol and calories. And while some dark beers fit those descriptions, all certainly do not! Dark beer, contrary to popular belief, can be just as light in alcohol, calories, and density as a light beer.
Looks can be deceiving. Dark beers obtain their color from dark malts. The grain can be kilned to varying degrees of color ranging from pale gold all the way up to roasty, pitch black. Just like a gentle toasting will result in a beer amber in color, a heavy hand on the heat will turn the grains darker. Darker grains don’t add more alcohol, which has a direct correlation to more calories.
What we do know about dark beer is that the smoky, roasted, creamy flavors hit the spot on a cold winter day. Dark beers pair perfectly with winter comfort foods or stand on their own – especially for dessert.
Here are few pairings to try out:
- Dark Lagers – pizza, burgers, hearty stews, glazed ham, Asian dishes
- Black IPA – fried chicken, BBQ ribs, grilled steak, blue cheese or an aged gouda, carrot cake
- Brown Ales – sausage, roasted turkey, root vegetables, tomato or french onion soup, nutty desserts
- Porters – smoked or grilled meats, black beans, strong cheese, and chocolate or coffee flavored desserts
- Stouts – spicy food, roasted meats, oysters, and anything involving chocolate or peanut butter
- Barleywine – pair these with your dessert selections or just have a barleywine as your dessert!
Do not be fearful of the dark unknown. There’s a dark beer out there somewhere, without fail, for nearly every steadfast light beer drinker. And if you still aren’t convinced, ease into it with one of these dark beer cocktails:
- Midnight – Mix equal parts of stout and any port wine in a tall glass.
- Black & Black – Add a dash of blackberry liqueur to a glass of stout.
- Black Velvet – Mix equal parts Guinness Stout (or any dry Irish stout) and champagne in a tall glass. You can also substitute hard cider for the champagne.
- Black & Tan – equal parts pale ale or lager, and a dark beer, like stout or porter.
Tell us your deepest, darkest, dark beer thoughts. We would love to hear them!