Beer and Halloween Candy: A Sweet Pair

Whether you have kids or not, Halloween means that you'll most likely find yourself elbows deep in a pile of candy that you aren't really sure you want. Whether it be trick-or-treating rejects or November 1st discount shelf bags that you couldn't resist, being pinned with some of the less-desired candy doesn't have to be a complete drag. Below are a few of the candy items that I imagine are often met with scorn, and suggestions for beer pairings that could complement these flavors and potentially create some magical new flavor

Sweet Tarts - Bell's Oarsman Ale

Sweet Tarts and Oarsman were made for each other. Nobody really eats Sweet Tarts until Halloween rolls around and they're included in candy variety bags. Similarly, people forget that Oarsman is a year-round beer, and often notice it only in the summer when they're looking for a refreshing, low ABV beer for hot days. Oarsman is a respectable rendition of a Berliner Weisse, though in my opinion it doesn't quite reach the level of tartness to make it outstanding. The same could be said for Sweet Tarts; while there's a bit of pucker to be had, it's not enough to really be satisfying. Maybe with their tartness combined (say that in a Captain Planet voice for added effect), they could create something special, with a fruit-flavored kick to boot.

Candy Corn - Left Hand Smoke Jumper

I'll be honest, I've never been particularly fond of candy corn. I usually get excited about it at first, then after a few bites, feel like my teeth are rotting out of my mouth and have to pass on any more of those brightly colored, condensed sugar triangles. I also didn't care for Smoke Jumper too much when I first tried it. The smoke was a bit dominating and I just couldn't get into it. However, for some reason, I have a feeling these two wrongs could somehow work together and make a right. Pop a few candy corn, chew, then wash down with a swig of Smoke Jumper and I imagine the blended flavors of the candy and porter would resemble a smoky, roasted marshmallow. Who knows? It sounds crazy enough that it just might work!

Sugar Daddies/Babies - Tallgrass Buffalo Sweat

I have loved all the various interpretations of Buffalo Sweat that Tallgrass has brought to Kansas City via firkins. Whether it's raspberries, cocoa nibs, coconut, etc., this beer lends itself well to being accompanied and enhanced by other sweet flavors. Why should caramel be any different? Whether you're grabbing a Sugar Daddy by the stick (no euphemism intended) and dunking it in, plopping a few Sugar Babies into the bottom of your glass, or simply pulling the classic chew and swig maneuver, the caramel candy will go hand-in-hand with the rich, chocolaty, coffee goodness of the stout. Sounds a lot better than gnawing on a wad of caramel on a stick and knocking a tooth filling loose, right?

Lemonheads - Schlafly Tasmanian IPA

The newest special release offering from Schlafly, Tasmanian IPA (or TIPA, for short) is a beer brewed with 100% Galaxy hops from Australia. The resulting flavors in the beer include nice punches of citrus and pineapple. Many of you may remember Southern Hemisphere IPA, volume 4 of their 20th Anniversary series, which also used Galaxy hops and imparted the same delicious flavors. Why not kick those TIPA citrus notes up 10 more notches and throw some Lemonheads into the mix? Hell, there's nothing better to do with those things, other than maybe feed them to squirrels and watch the inevitably hilarious result.

Whoppers - Bear Republic Pete's Brown Tribute Ale

This one was tough. In trying to come up with a beer to pair with Whoppers, I didn't want the result to be a malt overload, but it also had to be a beer that would match up well with the chocolate (sorry Double IPA's, you were disqualified immediately). I ended up settling on some type of brown ale, and as I pored over options, the oft-ignored Pete's Brown from Bear Republic stuck out to me. This beer leans to the sweeter, maltier side, with its own flavors of caramel and just a slight bitterness to balance the beer out. I think the chocolate and heavy malt of the Whoppers would match up quite well with this brown ale's existing flavors and prevent you from having to choke down condensed balls of malt powder by themselves.

Cherry Mash - Empyrean Dark Side Vanilla Porter

Cherry Mash is basically the quintessential Midwest Halloween candy that people living in other parts of the country would be disgusted by. And admittedly, while many people think it's a weird bastard candy, I like it. That cherry fondant center is oddly addicting, and only enhanced by the chocolate/chopped almond coating. Definitely a guilty pleasure of mine. Empyrean's Dark Side Vanilla Porter is another product of the Midwest, and in my opinion, one of the better beers in their lineup. Put these two together, and you'd end up with a roasty, nutty medley of chocolate, vanilla, and cherry. A guaranteed sugar crash later? For sure, but worth the momentary sweet euphoria.

What do you think? Any of these sound especially good? Any other Halloween candy and beer pairing combinations that you think could be successful?

*Editor's Note: This post is intended for entertainment value only, and does not endorse any of these combinations as being assuredly delicious. In fact, many of them may be awful. Proceed with caution.

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