Most people think of ‘pairings’ in terms of wine pairings, but with the huge variety of beers available, you don’t have to be much of a beer geek to quickly figure out that beer pairs well with food as well.  And I’m not talking about FYMMB at a backyard bar-b-que, either.

At first, the idea of pairing beer and chocolate may sound not quite right, but they actually play well off each other.  I had this “a-ha!” moment before I even learned to drink good beer, back when I would have M&Ms with Budweiser.  Now, admittedly, I actually discovered it when I was trying to find something that would cover beer-breath so my father wouldn’t know I’d been drinking.  Note:  Chocolate works very well to cover the smell, much better than chewing gum, and mint gum really doesn’t taste good with beer.  Also note:  Dad wasn’t fooled for a minute, but he was enlightened enough to ignore it as long as I wasn’t driving.

With all that said, I ran across a recipe that sounds absolutely incredible, and I think would pair beautifully with beer.  It’s called a chocolate sponge, but reading the description, this Brit’s concoction is definitely not our basic light little American sponge cake.  Instead, it’s rich and dense, more of a thick pudding.

A stout or porter would probably be far too heavy for a heavy chocolate dessert.  They suggest a wheat beer with it, which sounds like a good choice – one of my favorites is Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat.  A pale ale might also work, although I think it would probably be overwhelmed by the chocolate.  Another option that I think sounds delicious but might not be for everyone would be a fruit lambic, such as Framboise or maybe one of the other berries.  The sourness would be definite contrast and cut the sweetness of the dessert, and of course, fruit and chocolate are a classic pair.

If this is making  your mouth water, you should head over to the Real Ale Reviews site and pick up the recipe for Chocolate Sponge.  There are also some interesting musings regarding wine vs. beer pairings at Cheap Ethnic Eatz.