This is just for fun! I am not in any way, shape or form an expert in craft beer, though I have tasted a lot of different craft beers from around the state of Michigan – and I really, really like miniature candy bars!
Halloween is in two days, and that means…candy! It also means adorable little princesses, robots, monsters, and comic book hero wanna-bes coming up to your door and trick-or-treating. Maybe you have some kids of your own who’ll be either hitting up a “trunk or treat” event, a Halloween party or doing what they SHOULD do and going door-to-door (I’m old school that way – don’t get me started on “trunk or treat” (pfffft)! If my parents took me to a parking lot to go trick or treating? No….just no!
Let’s face it…Halloween is NOT all about kids! It’s also about kids at heart – and people who are WAY too dark/macabre to fit in with the overall cheesy Christmas vibe. Who doesn’t like candy? I know I like candy! And since I’m an adult, I’m also legally allowed to wash my Halloween candy down with delicious beer. Let’s pretend you’re a decent human being who only buys the BEST stuff for your trick-or-treaters. For purposes of this blog, I’m going to stick to the candy I like best – and that is chocolate-based candy/candy bars!
So what Michigan beer (or other “regional” craft beer) works best with what candy? Let’s get started! All of the beers I suggest will be Michigan made beers that are generally available in the Southeast MI area in stores and bars unless otherwise noted. I will attempt to suggest Michigan-made beers that are easy to find in stores.
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Any full-bodied porter or stout will taste quite nice if you’re munching on Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups! Some good ones to try include Arbor Brewing Co.’s Mackinac Island Fudge Stout, or Great Lakes Brewing’s (Cleveland, OH) Edmund Fitzgerald Porter or Primordial Porter from Original Gravity. I have never actually tried a Primordial Porter, but a friend of mine frequently gets a “float” made out of Primordial Porter and vanilla ice cream! I imagine it’s quite tasty with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, too.
If you’re a topical sort of person and you’re going to do a candy bar/beer pairing, you might want to save up those Peanut Butter Cups for November 10 and buy some Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. Why? If you’re a Michiganian and a trivia lover, you already know the significance of November 10 1975, don’t you? I’ll just wait right here a minute and let you ask your Alexa or do a Google search about Nov. 10 1975 (queue up elevator version of Air Supply’s All Out of Love to play in the background first, LOL):
Figure it out yet? November 10, 1975 is the date the Edmund Fitzgerald freighter sank in Lake Superior. Ironically enough, though the Cleveland-based brewery makes the Edmund Fitzgerald Porter – and the city of Cleveland is mentioned as a destination city for the Edmund Fitzgerald in the Gordon Lightfoot song Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald – the freighter was actually destined for Detroit, not Cleveland! If you’re a stickler for facts, you might want to try the Atwater Brewing Co.’s Vanilla Java Porter with your Reese’s cups! This beer is brewed in Detroit, where the freighter was actually headed when it sunk.
Frederick Beetcher, who worked as a porter aboard the Edmund Fitzgerald when it sank. I read recently that the freighter’s interior was actually quite luxuriously appointed, as far as freighters go – with furnishings supplied by Hudson’s, shag carpeting (hey, it was the 1970s) and a really well-appointed map room (which I would love to see).
This was truly a sad day in our state’s history! Why, oh why has no one made a movie about this?
Any decent lager/pilsner will help balance out the sweetness of the candy shells and clear the palate for your next piece of candy that you SWEAR you didn’t take from your kid’s trick-or-treat sack. Your secret is safe with me! D-Light from Atwater Brewing Company is a nice refreshing clean pilsner, as is the Euchre Pilsner from Arbor Brewing Company. If you’re having leftover M&Ms at Original Gravity Brewing Co. in Milan on their Thursday trivia nights, try a Spincast Cream Ale (which I call “Conjugal Visit Cream Ale” because there is a federal penitentiary in town). This very, very refreshing, quaffable beer won’t be too intimidated by the sweet candy shells – or the tasty chocolate inside!
This blog is focusing on chocolate candies, so I’ll make one note here – I had a chocolate bar Thursday in my trivia game, and it absolutely CLASHED with the Spincast cream ale I was drinking! To try to remedy the damage, I had a couple of pieces of hard candy instead. It got the weird taste out of my mouth, but eventually I needed to get the CANDY taste out of my mouth! So I had an IPA….problem solved!
Twix is probably one of my favorite candy bars and because of its caramel gooiness, I’m going to lump it with MilkyWay. Try a Twix (either left or right side will do) or Milky Way with a Bell’s Oberon. The slight orange flavor of the Oberon (even more so if you have an Oberon with a slice of orange) will complement the inner cookie quite well..
However, since it’s fall, Oberon might not be as available as it is in the spring/summer. So as a back-up, I’m going to suggest Bell’s Winter White to help wash down those yummy, yummy bites of Twix. A couple of non-Michigan beers – Blue Moon or Shock Top – will also be decent substitutes if you’re in a bar without too many “craft” offerings. I honestly don’t care what kind of beer/booze you drink with your Halloween candy!
Hershey’s Milk Chocolate
This candy bar will not be offensive with ANY beer you want to drink! But if you want some interesting flavor profiles, try a Saugatuck Neapolitan Stout (tastes exactly like its name), or a Right Brain Brewing CEO Stout if you’re feeling fancy! Anything goes with Hershey’s Milk Chocolate! Fruit and chocolate are natural best friends, so a Perrin Blackberry IPA or Dark Horse Raspberry Ale will both be good pairings with your basic milk chocolate bar. I “renamed” Perrin Blackberry IPA “Karen Blackberry IPA” when we were drinking it in a local bar on its $2 craft pint night (you’ve probably already figured out that I like to “rename” beers). And wouldn’t you know it…we killed the poor Karen Blackberry keg! She didn’t have a chance!
The IPA label on Karen Blackberry IPA is just that – a label. It doesn’t taste a darn thing like an IPA – there is no bitterness whatsoever! Unlike how bitter Karen Black’s character was in Five Easy Pieces when Jack Nicholson mistreated her…
Karen Black and Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces. The title does NOT refer to pieces of candy (or pieces of ass – though Nicholson’s character was quite the skirt chaser in this movie)
If you’re a trivia aficionado, you probably already know that Three Musketeers originally came in chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavors (which sounds completely awesome – why oh why did they stop serving them this way). As a nod to that old tradition, have a Saugatuck Neapolitan stout with your Three Musketeers! And if you’re having one of these in a bar, be sure to tell other bar patrons how Three Musketeers originally came in three flavors. Be the Cliff Clavin of your bar…do it!
I found a link to these on Amazon. Unfortunately, they appear to be out of stock – good thing – I would probably eat the f— out of these!
Actor Jeremy Davies as Private Toffler in Ravenous. When he gets severely injured, he says politely, “I would greatly appreciate some of that bourbon now.” When no one responds, he says forcefully (in a very uncharacteristic way for this mild-mannered character:) “Bourbon NOW!”
Another web site I visited suggested a good dark Belgian beer to “satisfy” with your Snicker’s. I am at a loss to recommend a really, really good Belgian beer – at least not any that would be available now. So I will suggest a really nice shot of bourbon with your Snickers. There are some good bourbons made in MI, I’m sure…but I’m not really a “bourbon” person, so there’s that for you! Some dear friends of mine like Woodford Reserve, which I think is made in Kentucky. If you’re willing to wait until some nice “holiday” beers are on store shelves, look for a nice strong “Christmas” ale, such as a 4 Elf from Dark Horse Brewing Co. Arbor Brewing Co. makes a doppelbock called Terminator that might work well with the complex flavors of a Snickers, too! Remember…you’re not you when you’re not having a kiss of booze with your Snickers!