Perfect Beer Pairings for Chocolate Chip Cookies

The chocolate chip cookie is a dessert standard. They'll hold up on the trip to the office or potluck, they're a crowd pleaser, and hey they aren't all that hard to make!

In fact, I have my favorite super easy recipe for a small batch of chocolate chip cookies right here.

But if you really want to bring the party, don't offer cookies alone! Bring a beer pairing along with you. Pairings not only make your favorite foods taste just a littttle better, they are also fun to try because they work for everyone a little differently.


If Dessert Is Feeling A Little Heavy, Try a Weizenbock Or Belgian Dubble

Suggested beers: Schneider Weisse Aventinus and Westmalle Dubble

Weizenbock and Belgian Dubble styles both feature some wonderful stone fruit flavors that lend a richness to the pallet, but their body and carbonation are a lighter than other dark beer counterparts. You'll notice more of the brown sugar sweetness in your cookie that pairs beautifully with the breadcrust flavors in these darker ales.


If You're Looking for the Perfect Nightcap + Dessert Combo, Try A Belgian Quad

Suggested Beer: Rochefort 10

My favorite pairing with chocolate chip cookies is the Belgian Quad. This style is sweet and rich and boozy. The dark fruit flavors of fig and dried cherries bring out the vanilla in the cookies for an indulgent dessert experience. This style tends to be more than ten percent alcohol making it the perfect way to end a dinner, or a night in!


If You're Feeling a Little Crazy, Try a Brett Ale

Suggested Beer: Allagash Little Brett

This pairing is not going to give you the classic dessert flavors you may expect, but it will wake you and your pallet up a little. I imagine the perfect place for this pairing is eating chocolate chip cookies outside at a summer picnic. Instead of pulling out deeper sugar and chocolate flavors from the cookie, the funky Brett flavors and high carbonation effectively wipe the heavy sweetness from your pallet. This experience instantly makes dessert feel lighter and let's you get your sugar fix without needing a nap.

What?! No Stout?

I know, I know you were expecting to see a stout! Stouts are definitely a good pair with chocolate chip cookies the light roast flavors compliment the sweetness in the cookie without overpowering it. Semisweet chocolate also stands up to that roast, which make the semi-sweet flavor shine on your pallet. But come on, everyone pairs chocolate chip cookies with Left Hand Milk Stout, I wasn't going to do that to you! what did I miss? Or what did you think? Anything you absolutely have to eat your cookies with?


Homemade Rx Bars!

So, this is a little off the beaten path here. Making RX Bars doesn't have anything to do with drinking beer, other than the fact that I have to eat RX Bars to stay at a reasonable weight - because I drink so much beer! 

I'm OBSESSED with the Chocolate Coconut RX Bars but at more than $3.00 a pop I had to stop snacking on these before work outs or at work. Or I could figure out my own way to make them. After a couple (like five!) tries, I found a recipe that I love even without the chocolate. 

Before you go shopping! I have to tell you, I got all the ingredients for these bars from Trader Joe's. Living in New York City, Trader Joe's is a regular savior for both my wallet and my travel time, so finding every. single. thing. I needed was really exciting. 

Ok! Now lets get down to making these things!

This all seems really easy because it is! But I have a few tips from my trials perfecting this recipe. 

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I have a tiny Manhattan kitchen with no room for a food processor, so I just dumped everything in my Vitamix. One thing I learned is that it is much easier to use a blender if you make a double batch! With a single batch I was scraping the bottom with a spatula constantly.

Look at all that bar trapped under the blender blades! 😱

Look at all that bar trapped under the blender blades! 😱

I also learned that you can cut the sheet of bars into individual bars right through the plastic! This also help keep the bars from sticking together while they are being stored, and keeps your hands clean. All good things people, all good things! 

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Beer Pairing! 

What, since it's a healthy-ish snack recipe you don't get a beer pairing? Heck no! 

I recently discovered the Ultimate Light from Omission Brewing and was SO EXCITED. These beers are gluten free, but even better just 99 calories. You can literally drink a six-pack for less calories than a frappauccino. (Omg frappuccinos are so many calories??!) 

This beer is nice and light, with some soft carbonation on the pallet and a nice grain backbone. (I wrote all about if for October.) 

So it pairs nicely with an active day and a gluten free, dairy free, protein packed snack bar!

Visiting Tired Hands Brewing - The Beer Cafe

Nestled in what can only be described as the adorable town of Ardmore, Pennsylvania, Tired Hands Brewing Company is a comfortable yet eclectic spot for great beer.  We visited the Brew Café and had such a great time we didn't make it around the corner to the Fermenteria (we'll be back!) 

Tired Hands serves two kinds of beer classic French and Belgian farmhouse brews and crazy American IPAs. 

We started off with one of the crazies - the Bill Braun's Ass Kickin IPA. The name was a reference to the hot sauce added to the beer and it does not lie. This beer quickly kicked my ass and my pallet and was promptly set aside. 

Next up was Chat Room which was a substantially less ass-kicking and substantially more interesting IPA brewed with spelt and 100% equinox hops. It was my first time to try an all-equinox beer and it was not exactly what I was expecting. I got a lot of fruit pith and grass on the nose and citrus pith in the taste. The spelt gave a creamy mouth-feel to top this captivating IPA.



Signature Beers

Before getting too many beers deep we wanted to taste the breweries signature beers - Hop Hands and Saison Hands. These two earned their place as signatures. Hop Hands is a 5.5% pale ale brewed with a high percentage of oats. While the color is a turn off ('grayish pee' was a descriptor used at the table) the silky mouth feel more than makes up for it. The beer holds on to a sweet fruity nose and lots of floral and fruit flavor with a dank bitter finish so well it was hard not to chug my whole pint. This was my personal favorite of the day. Saison Hands is one of the most well-done examples of a French farmhouse beer I have tasted in a brew pub. An exciting prickly mouthfeel paired with a classic lemony hay flavor made for a seriously enjoyable beer.

Tips for Your Visit:

  • Come with an Open Mind: The ingredients and brewing styles are eclectic, but well worth the try! Tired Hands doesn't do flights but they do have smaller glasses for sampling - try them all!

  • Parking: There is a lot right next to the beer café, DO NOT park there. You will get towed. Then you will be sad.

  • The Food: HOLY CRAP! Do you like delicious house-made bread, handpicked local cheeses and meats and rustic preparations? Of course you do! The food here is awesome. Come ready to snack or come hungry and get a sandwich. You won't be disappointed.

  • Bring a Growler: They sell growler fills of pretty much everything on tap and you are going to want to share these brews with your friends at home!

Raise a Toast with Beer Instead of Champagne

I feel so lucky because at least two or three times a month, I have something to celebrate. A birthday at work, an engagement of a friend, a holiday toast. As people would say, "What better for a toast than a glass of bubbly?!" To which I say, "BEER!" The worst feeling is deciding if you should get three bottles of crappy champagne or one bottle of nice champagne. Well, no more my friends.

A few other great things about subbing out beer for champagne:

  • Less sugar. Guess what, less sugar leads to less of a hangover. So you can celebrate tonight and not regret it tomorrow.

  • Plenty of bubbles. All of these beers are highly carbonated and some of them even come with a cork. I know you don't want to miss out on that cork pop.

  • It's cheap. A top-of-the-line beer is going to run you $9-$20 aka the same price as an ok bottle of champagne.

  • Get your buzz on. If you're looking to party and you're worried beer won't get you there, don't fret! All of these beers have abv comparable to that of champagne.

  • It's out of the ordinary. Most people haven't tried the high-quality, golden, bubbly champagne-like beers that exist out in the world. If you bring along a sparkling beer, not only will everyone enjoy what they're drinking, they'll also get to try something new!

Some of my favorite champagne substitutes: 

  • Duvel (Belgian Golden Strong)
    Beautiful beer with tons of bubbles and widely available. I popped one right after getting engaged.

  • DueS (Brut Des Flanders)
    Yep, it's called "champagne beer" and comes with champagne flutes in some stores, so it's a pretty spot on substitute.

  • Tripel Karmalite (Belgian Tripel)
    A brilliant golden beer with a rocky white head and the scent of a floral bouquet with a few pine cones...TELL ME you don't want to welcome the new year with this?!

  • Saison Brett (Brettanomyces Fermented Saison)
    Are you a little adventurous? This beer has familiar crisp apple and light pear flavors that are accented with Brett's famous "sweat horse blanket" funk.

  • Tank 7 (Farmhouse Saison)
    My favorite "starter beer" for those that confidently proclaim, "I just don't like beer." It is a total crowd pleaser, perfect for a toast. Sweet, highly-carbonated with a dry clean finish...cheers!


How This "Beer Thing" Got Started

Ok, if a human could have an FAQ section (can we?) this is my number one. "How did you even get into beer??" so it just fits. My very first post is the answer to this question. 

I have enjoyed eating and cooking my whole life but I truly fell in love with the idea of what food could be as the hostess of The Lonesome Dove, Tim Love's restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas.

Every week or so the whole staff would get to try the new items on the menu and at nights sometimes the pastry chef would share leftover desserts with us. It was the first time I tried many things, including rattlesnake and kangaroo. It was also the first time I met people fully dedicated to food. Not just the chefs, but the entire staff was totally committed to  providing unforgettable meals and food experiences. Working among them taught me what food could be and inspired me to try everything and attempt to replicate it when I can. 

A true passion for beer came later in my life. I had never been a fan of the light American lagers I was offered at tailgates and I sort of wrote-off beer as a way to get drunk on the cheap (not something I was so interested in.) I can point to three specific beers that changed my view forever. The first is Magic Hat #9. I now think of this beer as totally tame, but the first time I tried it I was home from college and share one with my dad. "Woa," I said, "this is beer?" Naturally, he laughed at me inquiring what else it could be. I had never tasted a beer that had fruit and bread flavors. I wanted to try more. 

June 2010. My hair was too blonde and Golden Monkey was too good.

June 2010. My hair was too blonde and Golden Monkey was too good.

Back in Texas I tried out my local breweries and random things I spotted at the liquor store. I found these far more enjoyable than those tailgate beers, but still nothing too thrilling. Once again, back in Pennsylvania, I visited Victory Brewing and tried Golden Monkey, a Belgian Tripel style brew. I was floored by the aromas, flavors, carbonation, and even the appearance of the beer. My father and I talked with the waiter for a long time about the beer style and what else to try.

January 2017. A little freshen up in the Victory branding still lookin' good.

January 2017. A little freshen up in the Victory branding still lookin' good.

After this brewery tasting...I really went nuts. No beer was too strong, too dark or too hoppy. I would occasionally go out of my way to special stores to find new beers. In 2013, I went to Monks Cafe in Philadelphia and tried the Guez from Drie Fontinien. I can specifically point to this as the moment I went from curious to obsessed. I couldn't understand why a beer would taste so sour, and be so 'rare'?

Well I spent a long time researching, eventually going all the way to Belgium to find the answer. This journey led me to where I am today, making beer, studying for my Cicerone exam, and traveling far and wide to try beers at their freshest and best. I'm so happy you're here with me!

Do you have a specific beer that changed the way you drink - or make beer?! Share in the comments!