Well, ghosts and ghouls, Halloween has come and gone once again and left many of us sitting on a Smaug-sized horde of leftover candy. However, now that your children, significant other, and coworkers have all raided your stash, your candy trove has probably been left looking like the last round of a bottle swap: Picked-over and sad.
Thankfully, beer makes everything better, even undesirable halloween candy! Here’s our list of 10 beer pairings to help you finish off your pile of sugary misfits.
York Peppermint Pattie – Pair with Surly Key Lime Supreme
Mint in desserts is always a divisive topic, and no mint candy stirs up quite as much controversy as the York Pattie. It probably has something to do with the fact that the candy’s creamy-grainy, seemingly-mentholated peppermint filling is uncomfortably reminiscent of toothpaste.
To neutralize this, we’re pairing the York’s cooling mint with the sweet-and-tart acidity of Surly Brewing Company’s Key Lime Supreme. Mint and lime are a classic cocktail combination (think Mojitos or Mint Juleps), and York pattie’s minimal chocolate flavor plays nicely with the crisp, light-bodied Supreme.
Banana Laffy Taffy – Pair with Utepils Ewald the Golden
While the author of this piece is an avowed lover of banana-flavored Laffy Taffy, this ultra-chewy candy’s unique attempt to capture the flavor of bananas strikes many as exceedingly artificial (although that may be because it’s based on a now-extinct varietal of the fruit).
There’s no way to mask the Banana Laffy Taffy’s flavor, so instead, we’re going to double-down and pair our candy with a hefeweizen like Utepils Brewing Co.’s Ewald the Golden. Thanks to their characteristic yeast esters, hefeweizens already have a pungent banana-y aroma, and the crisp finish of Utepils’ version helps cut some of the Laffy Taffy’s sweetness.
Tootsie Rolls – Pair with FINNEGANS Dead Irish Poet
Probably one of the oldest candies on this list, the humble Tootsie Roll has somehow been cursed to remain forever in limbo. While ostensibly cocoa-flavored, the Tootsie Roll never quite provides enough chocolate kick to satisfy, and its texture sits in an uncomfortable netherworld between caramel and taffy.
We’re pairing this Tootisie Roll with the inky black Dead Irish Poet Stout from FINNEGANS Brew Co. Founder Jacquie Berglund says that the beer’s flavor reminds her of a tootsie roll, and she’s right, but Dead Irish Poet also adds a welcome bit of complexity with a dark malt bitterness reminiscent of black licorice.
Almond Joy – Pair with City Lights Coconut Porter
Coconut and chocolate is another one of those “love it or loathe it” type flavor combinations, and for coconut haters, no candy is more loathsome than the Almond Joy. The candy’s milk chocolate coating, cloyingly creamy coconut filling, and dry, flavorless almond topping make it a popular toss-out for many.
The trick to converting a coconut-cajoler is to introduce a bit of caramelization, as toasting coconut fixes a lot of the worst sunscreen-y qualities of the flesh. City Lights Brewing’s velvety smooth Coconut Porter comes through with a big hit of buttery toasted coconut flavor balanced by dry and nutty malt bill serves as a perfect complement to the Almond Joy’s mixed-up melange.
3 Musketeers – Pair with Steel Toe Dissent Dark Ale
Nougat’s rich fattiness and fluffy-chewy whipped consistency make it one of the most controversial ingredients in all of candydom. While many of us enjoy nougat as an additive in say, a Snickers Bar, the ingredient fairs much more poorly when left to its own devices in a 3 Musketeers, which have the tendency to become bland, textureless blobs.
To spice up Snickers’ fuddy-duddy cousin, we’re pairing it with the bracing and malty Dissent from Steel Toe Brewing. Dissent’s cascade of bitter dark chocolate and coffee flavors adds some much-needed excitement to the 3 Musketeers, and the bar’s whipped creaminess pairs well with the smooth body Dissent gains from the oats used in its brewing.
Lemon (Yellow) Starburst – Pair with Fair State Secret Highways
While the relative merits of the classic 4 Starburst flavors are the subject of much debate, it’s generally accepted that the yellow-wrapped lemon flavor is the least popular of the bunch. This might have something to do with the candy’s waxy texture and a barely-there lemon flavor that makes Lemon La Croix seem bold and tangy by comparison.
Because the lemon Starburst is so bland, we decided to pair it with a zingy, tart, and effervescent mixed-fermentation saison from Fair State called Secret Highways. This fizzy farmhouse ale’s cirtusy acidity comes courtesy of the local sumac and bitter orange that Fair State ages this beer on, lending just enough lemony bite to compliment the Starburst while providing some much-needed herbal complexity.
Payday – Pair with Oliphant Brewery Honees Honees
This is a candy bar that only the saltiest of peanut-pushers could love. Similar to the Baby Ruth but sans chocolate and nougat, the Payday bar is an uninspiring affair that binds dry, sawdusty roasted peanuts together with a generic, gluelike caramel.
We’re going to play up the honey-roasted characteristics of the Payday bar by pairing it with the peanut butter-and-honey goodness of Oliphant’s Honees Honees golden ale. This improbably delicious beer’s gentle malt sweetness and refreshingly light body help wash down the dryness of the Payday and lend this plain-jane bar some much-needed panache.
Candy Corn – Pair with Hamm’s 30 Rack, we guess
There is no redeeming candy corn. It is a blight upon our culture and a drain on our economy. Millions of dollars and labor hours are wasted every year creating these pallid little lumps of sadness. Candy should spark joy and remind us of our childhood. The only emotion sparked by Candy Corn is a deep, existential malaise.
Pair it with several Hamm’s, because at least then you’ll be enjoying a Hamm’s. You still won’t enjoy the Candy Corn, but the Hamm’s will make you forget about it a little faster.