I’m a sucker for hot chocolate. I’m especially a sucker for hot chocolate when it involves beer, spice and tons and tons of chocolate. Like, TONS of chocolate. I don’t cook with beer very often…hardly ever, actually. It makes me nervous, to be honest. I love the flavor of beer (obviously), and I love just about any type of food you could put in front of me. When you mix the two together, it can either be delicious or a complete disaster. This is just one of the reasons I don’t cook with it very often. I’m trying though, and I’ve come across many recipes across the web where cooking with beer has really worked. I thought I would give it a go with hot chocolate. It seemed simple enough, and as long as there was enough sweetness, I think the stout would be a nice flavor enhancer. When you are cooking with beer, the amount of it really comes down to personal preference. Many people enjoy that extreme bitter taste that beer can offer in certain recipes. Some people want just a subtle amount of that bitter beer taste. When you go to make this hot chocolate, keep this in mind. If it ends up being too bitter for you, add a tablespoon or more of sugar. If it’s not bitter enough, add a touch more beer. You are more than welcome to cook out the alcohol. Some people prefer it this way. Just be sure to cook your hot chocolate to at least 170 degrees F (or even higher) once you have added the beer. Remove from heat just after heating the beer through, if you wish for some of the alcohol content to remain. Don’t be scared, and give this stout hot chocolate a shot! I’m almost positive you will love each and ever sip!
Beer: Odell Brewing’s Lugene
Style: Milk/Sweet Stout
Description: This isn’t so much a beer pairing as it is a cooking with beer dish. This being said, you still need a beer that is going to “pair” well in the dish! In this case, a pale ale or saison wouldn’t really work…especially for the route I was trying to head. Chocolate and stouts go together like peas and carrots. I really wanted to use one of my favorite chocolate milk stouts in this hot chocolate, and I could look no further than Odell’s Lugene. Lugene is solid in it’s chocolatey flavor. It has a kick of coffee, while still having a slight kick of hops. It’s perfection in a bottle. Cooking with beer can be tedious and can take a lot of trial and error (which is why I don’t do it very often). If you want to get into cooking with beer, this recipe is perfect to get you started. Lugene is the perfect stout for the job!