There are several great beer and desert pairings out there. Stouts and Hefe’s are both great beers to pair with those dishes that sooth the sweet tooth. I would have to say though, that the best beer and desert pairing was the one that my wife and I enjoyed tonight. I was in the mood for cheesecake and so I needed to find the right beer to match. I know what your all thinking, you put wine with desert. Wrong, wine fails at every chance to enhance the flavor of food, especially desert. I had just the beer in mind as I walked through the store. Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic was that exact match. The history behind this beer is incredible, the style itself has been around for hundreds of years. This particular brewery has been around for nearly two hundred years. For those of you that don’t know, Lambic is a very unique and complex style. They are spontaneously fermented, where the brewmaster leaves the vat open for microflora to infest the beer and go to work. These natural, wild yeasts create flavors far outside those the majority of us are used to. Now, unless you make a trip to Belgium, you won’t get a pure Lambic. What we get here are blended Lambic’s. We can get those blended with fruit, like we had tonight, Framboise is raspberries. The same company brews the same lambic with peaches or cherry’s also. Within the US you can also get Gueuze, which is new lambic blended with an older lambic and then fermented again. These are incredible beers, hints of earthy tones and flavors. Acidic tastes are quite prevalent also. The acid taste actually takes up where hops are not. Lambics use hops that are aged for 3 years, in which they lose their bitterness properties, yet retain their power to preserve. This beer style does not depend on hops to take up the flavor, it takes advantage of the yeast and in this case the fruit. Also, very prevalent with this beer is carbonation, which is abundant and sharp. So, enough about the style itself, on to the pairing of the evening.

   I had to stop at the grocery store, so I slid through the desert section and found some cheesecake. Now, I could have made it, I’ve made it before, but time was the major factor. You know what I mean, when you are craving something, you want it then.  On my way out of the store I slipped into the beer aisle and grabbed me a Lambic. I prefer either the Framboise (raspberry) or the Peche (peach), but my wife is not a peach fan, so raspberry it was. We had a very simple dinner tonight, consisting of a cheeseburger and chips. I did though have a beer with my cheeseburger (Magic Hat Roxy Rolles). I didn’t bother photographing that one, because I have already done a write about that dinner and that beer. Anyway, after dinner was all cleaned up it was time for a desert. Something we don’t often have here. I don’t know how many of you have had a lambic, but my wife never had, so I was pretty excited to show her a whole new world of beer. I prepared the cheesecake by removing it from the packaging it came in. I grabbed some champagne flutes (the recommended lambic glass), cracked the bottle and gave it a pour. Upon opening the bottle I took a quick sniff of the bottle, which was packed full of raspberry aroma and then a nice undertone of an earthy, dirt smell. It was a wonderful contrast. I began to pour a glass, the beer flowing out was a deep merlot color and the pouring released even more raspberry aroma. The head built into a light and delicate pinkish foam, that quickly dissipated to a much smaller, lasting head. Raspberry flavor nails you upon first sip, but with further inspection, one can distinguish the acidity and flavors of the yeast. We were eating plain cheesecake which didn’t seem so plain with Framboise Lambic, the raspberry flavor of the beer accompanied the desert so well, it picked up where the cheesecake left off. The carbonation is sharp on the tongue, much like champagne, which did a wonderful job of clearing the palette after each bite. I would have to say this is the best desert pairing I’ve ever experienced. Sure, Stout and chocolate can be tasty, but there is a delicate, yet earthy flavor to this pairing. The flavors are bright, which is very apparent in every taste. Each of these items should be easily found in any good grocery store. Be sure to seek this one out, you won’t be disappointed. Guaranteed!

beer + food = barleydine


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