Want to wash down that leftover Halloween candy with something spirited? Matthew Stock, a beer expert from the Brass Tap, says craft beer can complement our candy cravings. • "I always tell people pairing beer is easier than even pairing wine," he said, "because there is such a variety of natural flavors in beer, and lots of interesting specialty ingredients." • We threw out a few candy suggestions to see if Stock could identify the right beer for the job. Here are his picks.
Snickers: Stock said that, when pairing food and beer, you can go in a complementary direction or a contrasting direction. Snickers has natural flavors that are similar to malt, so he would opt for a beer that complements the candy.
"I suggest something with body like an American porter, which has notes of nuts and caramel," Stock said. "Terrapin's Liquid Bliss is a medium full-bodied beer. Snickers is a heavy candy, so you need a beer to hold up."
SweeTarts: This is one of Stock's favorite candies.
"The sour edge pairs well with a saison, which has wild yeast ... and a rustic-earthy type of presence," he said. "The acidity works really well — it's a contrasting type of pairing."
Mounds: Stock recommends bringing out the coconut flavor of Mounds with a beer that has chocolate, plus the flavor of the tropical fruit. He said there are a lot of beers that use coconut as an added, or "adjunct," flavor, like Maui Brewing Co.'s Imperial Coconut Porter out of Hawaii. That's a complementary choice. For something that contrasts a Mounds bar, Stock suggests a Florida Berliner Weisse, which has lots of acidity from lactobacillus yeast.
"Lots of Florida breweries brew this type of beer with tropical flavors like pineapple," he said.
Candy corn: Stock is pro candy corn, so he was happy to suggest a beer pairing for this divisive treat.
"Candy corn has a big sugar presence, but also a nice subtle caramel note," he said. "Instead of a big flavor, it would pair really well with a smooth Vienna-style lager that has a biscuity-toasty malt."
Skittles: Stock had to think about this one for a second. He landed on an American wheat beer, something with a "nice subtle fruit flavor that goes well with the blend of fruit flavors in Skittles." Going with a bold beer may be tricky, because these colorful candies vary in flavor. Stock suggests Cigar City's Florida Cracker Ale, which has notes of coriander and orange peel.
Michelle Stark, Times food editor