Hate Beer? You’ll Love the One That Tastes Like Dark Chocolate!
If clinking a glass of whiskey or swirling that cuppa wine is all de riguer for you – and the thought of beer far too plebeian (pooh!) – we’d say: loosen up, you beer hater!
Wake up to the ‘beery’ goodness. One, because not all beers are bitter and two, because beers have a complex flavour profile, unlike what most people think.
Says John Eapen, a beer evangelist and a beer consultant,
Beers ARE complex – thanks to the water, malted barley, hops and yeast that lend flavour to the brew.
Also, there exists a beer for many a popular types of alcohol. So if you have always discarded this golden hoppy liquid for a sweeter tasting champagne or the smoothness of a bourbon or the malty whiskey, we have you covered.
1. If You Like Bourbon, You’ll Love... Barley Wine (a Type of Beer)
Bourbons have a spicy aroma – that of fresh oak and sometimes of delicate corn notes underscored by a layer of caramel and vanilla. Bourbons also taste of soft fruit and ripe berries, (sometimes with a hint of tobacco).
Similarly barley wines have an aroma of dark caramel, toffee, oak/vanilla and mild sherry. It has honey notes along with the earthy/woodsy character that it gets from oak. This beer comes close to the velvety smoothness of a bourbon and has a medium carbonation with a semi sweet finish.
2. If You Like Whiskey, You’ll Love... Scotch Ales
There ain’t many a whiskey drinker who doesn’t like beer – since both beer and whiskey share the same base grain – barley.
Whiskies are made from fermented grain mash (barley, corn, rye or wheat) and typically aged in charred white oak casks – giving it its distinctive brown colour with malty and oak like flavours and a whiff of smoke.
Scottish Ales similarly go through a long boil in the kettle for caramelisation of the wort. This produces a deep copper to brown coloured brew and a higher level of un-fermentable sugars which create a rich mouthfeel and malty flavours and aromas. Though smoky characters are common, the overall hop character is low, thus allowing its signature malt profile to be the highlight.
Scotch Ales are higher in alcohol content, low on bitterness, full bodied and filled with malty caramel notes that are found in whiskies. Some Scotch Ales are also aged with oak, imparting the woody flavour that is comparable to whiskies.Manu Gulati, Owner of Microbrewery ‘Effingut Brewerkz’, Pune
3. If You Like Champagne, You’ll Love... Hefeweizen
Hefe is typically dry, high in carbonation, moderately astringent, and a tad sour and sweet – thereby appealing to the palate of a wine drinker.
The beer has phenolic flavours of banana and cloves with an often dry and tart edge, some spiciness and fruity notes, much like champagne . A slight hoppy character lends it a slight bitterness.
Says Saurabh Patwardhan who is a beer aficionado and who recently launched Kimaya Brewing Company:
4. If You Like Old Monk, You’ll Love... Belgian Dubbel
Old Monk presents a pretty sweet palate: think notes of banana, vanilla and caramel –a character list that explains why it pairs so well with cola. The Belgian Dubbel, similar to an Old Monk, is a rich malty beer with some subtle spicy and mild alcoholic characteristics. It isn’t fruity, but it does have some dark fruit aromas and flavours. This beer may also show traits of a steely caramel flavour from the use of crystal malt or dark candy sugar.
Says John Eapen:
5. If You Like Dark Chocolate, You’ll Love... Smoked Stout
If you are someone who loves dark chocolate and likes the roasty goodness of the nuts, then this stout is for you. Stouts are a classic style of ales, with sharp contrast in taste and colour. This black brew is made with proportions of dark roasted barley and is heavily hopped, giving it a distinctive taste similar to that of dark chocolate.
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(A freelance food and fashion blogger, Pranjali Bhonde Pethe aims at getting people and their favourite food and style closer through her blog moipalate. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on @moipalate.)