Craft Beer & Chocolate

Artisanal products are made with the utmost care and with the finest ingredients without the need for artificial, processed ingredients. The end result is a premium product that is much more flavorful and wholesome.

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Craft Beer, Coffee and Chocolate are three things that I absolutely enjoy and when you bring some of these items together, you can create an interesting experience.

I frequent Arbor Brewing Company for a few reasons – proximity to my residence, consistent, quality craft brews, excellent food, ambiance and service. Let’s not leave out the friends I’ve made at Arbor both the staff, patrons and strangers!

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At Arbor with Thean from Castle Malting, Belgium & Hollis – Arbor’s Head Brewer

I’ve been a regular patron for over 4 years now and one thing that Arbor does is experiment frequently.

Their latest experiment is adding artisanal chocolate to one of their beers and introducing a week long chocolate based food menu as a tribute to World Chocolate Day on July 7th.

Let’s start off with the special beer brewed for this occasion and you’re going to love this.


Chocolate Sesame Raisin Stout

ABV: 6.7%  | IBU: 20

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Brewed with oatmeal, raisins and a kilos of artisanal dark chocolate (cocoa and sesame seeds) from Mason & Co.

This Stout is almost black with a nice, creamy, frothy off white head that has good retention.

Wait for this to warm up a little for the full aroma bouquet to reveal itself. You’ll get chocolate and raisins right away on the nose and some alcohol notes.

On the palate, a lot of dark chocolate flavor/bitterness along with the raisins with very little sweetness, medium bodied, smooth, creamy mouthfeel with hint of bitterness and a dry finish. Didn’t really make out the sesame seeds but I suppose I should try another pint soon to see what else develops. .

Overall – I like the flavor profile. If you like dark chocolate, then this is a must try. Grab it before it runs out!


Mason & Co – Chocolate Basics

Mason & Co conducted a special Chocolate sampling session for us including a beer pairing session along with Arbor’s co-founders Matt & Rene Greff.

They are known for making vegan, artisanal hand crafted chocolate, work closely with farmers to ensure the highest bean quality. Their chocolates are single origin, conscious,100% organic and truly handcrafted by an all female workforce.

Mansi Reddy from Mason walked us through the basics of how you actual get from the cacao bean to a chocolate bar.  The chocolate 101 process is outlined below, as well as some of the things we were able to observe during the demonstration.

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Chocolate 101 – From Bean To Bar

The process chart below shows you how you get from a raw harvested cacao bean to an artisanal bar of chocolate.

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We were able to see what the beans are like at various stages of the process above thanks to the samples Mansi shared with all of us. The tea made from the husk was surprisingly good and cocoa nibs are just brilliant not just as a snack but as a brewing ingredient too.


Craft Beer & Chocolate Pairing

The myth that only Stouts pair with dark chocolates needs to be broken. Chocolate like any other food can be paired with a variety of different beers.

Here’s a generic pairing guide. You can always follow the general rules of complementing flavors or contrasting them but don’t be afraid to experiment. There is no right or wrong just your palate.

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We tried the following pairings:

  • Black Sesame and Raisin paired with the Chocolate Sesame Stout
  • Zesty Orange paired with the Beach shack IPA 
  • Cafe Noir paired with the Bangalore Bliss Hefeweizen
  • Rosemary & Sea Salt paired with the Aging Elephant Sour

So what did we think? The first paring was a marriage in heaven – complementary pairing that really brought out the raisins and sesame out of the chocolate. It’s amazing how the flavor of the sesame was intensified with this complimentary pairing.

The Orange flavor from the chocolate paired with Beach shack IPA really helped bring out the citrus notes from the hops used for the IPA and also brought out the IPA bitterness. The coffee notes from the Cafe Noir really helped bring out the fruity notes from the Hefe. The most interesting pairing would have to be the last one. The Salt from the chocolate combined with the tartness of the sour beer turned into what tasted like a Gose and the rosemary also made an appearance. This surprisingly worked wonderfully well.

This was definitely an interesting exercise and opens the world of Chocolate and Craft Beer which I’m truly excited about. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to sample the dishes made with chocolate on the special menu that ran for a week. Let’s hope Arbor brew’s this special once again and brings some of the menu items back.

Thank you Arbor Brewing Co for organizing this and for Mason & Co for driving this. We need more of such events across Indian cities.

Cheers & Start Eating Dark Chocolate with your Beers!

JJ The Keg


Resources

Choclate Products

You’ll find more information about them on their website along with an online store and more!

Mason & Co Websitehttp://www.masonchocolate.com/

Mason & Co on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/masonchocolate/

Mason & Co on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/masonandco_chocolate/


All Images Courtesy Mason & Co, Arbor Brewing Co & Tales Of Froth 

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