Beer and Chocolate Pairing at Equal Exchange and a Giveaway

Hubby and I hopped on the train last week on a rainy afternoon and headed down to North Station. We were chatting along the way about what a beer and chocolate tasting would be like. Would it really be just beer and chocolate? Seemed too much like a wine and chocolate pairing, only weirder…

Equal Exchange Cafe, Boston, MA

After getting off the train, we headed over to Equal Exchange Cafe to see what this beer and chocolate pairing was all about. The cafe was a cute little space that we agreed Hubby should check out some time when he needs a coffee in the North Station area. He usually grabs a DD coffee in North Station when he takes the train home, but it would be worth the one block detour to try some of their free trade coffees.

Equal Exchange Cafe, Boston, MA

Once we arrived, we met a variety of people from Harpoon Brewery, Equal Exchange, and chatted with a handful of other bloggers. We had the whole cafe to ourselves for the evening and to kick things off, we were encouraged to grab a beer.

Chocolate and Beer Pairing Guide

Once everyone arrived, they encouraged us to grab a seat so we could begin the tasting. For each beer and chocolate pairing we first tasted the chocolate, then the beer, then the chocolate and beer together. I’ve done chocolate tastings in the past and it’s similar to tasting wine. First you smell the chocolate. It’s recommended to smell it in a bowl so that any residual smells from you hands won’t interfere with the smell of the chocolate. After noticing the aroma of the chocolate, you take a small bite and chew it a few times. Then allow the chocolate to melt on your tongue. Be sure to take note how the taste of the chocolate changes as it melts.

Harpoon UFO White and Dark Chocolate with Almonds

The beer tasting was similar. We were instructed to swirl the beer around in our cup with our hand over the top to capture all of the aroma in the cup. Then smell the beer prior to tasting it.

Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Catamount Maple Wheat and Milk Chocolate

Lastly, we would taste some chocolate and once it started melting on your tongue, take a drink of the beer. It was interesting to see how the flavors danced around in your mouth. Some started with a strong taste of the beer and others finished that way. It was also interesting to see how the two together had such different flavors than each component on it’s own.

Harpoon Dark and Caramel Crunch with Sea Salt

I am NOT a fan of IPAs and we tasted a Rye IPE that I could not drink on it’s own. However when the chocolate was added to the mix, it tasted like a completely different beer. This was a really unique experience that I’m glad I got to try out.

The aftermath of the tasting

And now on to the giveaway! They gave us goodie bags on the way out the door and I’ve decided to pass my goodies along to you. I can’t ship beer, so I’ll be keeping the bottle of beer they gave me (sorry guys).

Package contains:
– One Harpoon Brewery bottle opener
– Two Harpoon Brewery beer coozies
– Two Equal Exchange coffee mugs
– Three bars of Equal Exchange organic, fair trade chocolate
– One Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate Pairing wheel

Giveaway Package

Giveaway rules:
– Winner will be chosen using
– US shipping addresses only
– Giveaway is open until 12:00 PM (noon) EST on Thursday, May 17th
– Mandatory first entry: answer the following question: What is your favorite kind of beer or chocolate? Have you ever paired them together?
– For an additional (optional) entry, Tweet the following “RT @beantownbaker Beer and Chocolate?!? Who knew they could be so great together! @EEcafe @harpoon_brewery”

AND, Equal Exchange is also doing a giveaway on their Facebook page. Be sure to check it out here where you can download a pairing guide and enter to win their giveaway. The grand prize is a tasting event for 20 people at Harpoon Brewery!

This event was provided free of charge, but the opinions are 100% my own. Special thanks to Terry from Antler for inviting me to the event!

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