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Posted on Sep 25, 2013 by


Pairing food and beer is gaining credence. It’s no secret that there are some great tried and tested combinations out there – oysters and stout; mussels and a Belgian blonde; hearty stews with ale – but when you enter the sweeter end of the food spectrum it gets a bit trickier.

In the last couple of years we’ve seen a host of Cornish breweries experimenting with dark, spicy ales, stouts and porters. The burnt (roasted) malt results in coffee and caramel flavours which lend themselves well to drinking with rich, chocolate puds.

Two caveats: in my experience beer doesn’t work with creamy puddings; and as beer is generally nowhere near as sweet as dessert wines or liqueurs, it’s going to taste better when matched with a bitter chocolate pudding than a highly sugared pud.

Here are three I put to the test:



The Bodmin brewers only started out in January 2012 but have already made a big impression on the beer scene. Harbour Brewing Co currently have two beers in the final round of Sainsbury’s beer hunt competition, one of which is this malty porter.

Dark red/ochre in colour, the bottle promises “roasted coffee flavours with rich caramel sweetness” and doesn’t disappoint, with the burnt malt giving a slight smokiness to the flavour. It’s warm and smooth to drink, balanced, with just enough hoppiness to give a dry finish.

The burntness would work with a chocolate creme brulèe, while the coffee notes would lend themselves well to a tiramisu laced with chocolate, coffee and sweet Kahlua or caramel.

EAT WITH: tiramisu, salted caramel tart, bitter chocolate tart.

PRICE: £1.95 from Wadebridge Wines. 33cl.



This is the third beer from Sharp’s “Connoisseur’s Choice” range, for which head brewer Stuart Howe has combined British malts, American hops and Belgian yeast to create “a premium bottled beer that is fruity, rich, sweet and warming”. He also added roasted coffee beans after fermentation to add an “Irish coffee” feel.

It’s very dark in colour, with a deep red glow when held up to the light. The coffee comes through strongly without overpowering, and it is rich and smooth without being overly heavy or bitter, lightened by a wintery fruitiness.

EAT WITH: an oozing chocolate fondant, but give the cream a miss.

PRICE: 12 x 33cl bottles for £49.99 from



A beer in the speculoos style, this beer from Falmouth’s Rebel Brewing Co was inspired by the classic Stone Roses track that gives it its name. The beer is infused with a mix of seven different spices and fermented with Belgian yeast, and is reminiscent of the gingery spiced biscuits popular in Belgium.

It’s a rich golden syrupy colour, and the smell of cinnamon is right there on pouring into the glass. It’s almost like a mulled light ale – there’s an apply acidity (possibly reinforced by the cinnamon) which complements the ginger, nutmeg and cardamom and belies its strength.

EAT WITH: it has to be apples – try tarte tatin with caramel sauce.

PRICE: £2.25 from Wadebridge Wines. 33cl.

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