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Ultimate Beer and Halloween Candy Pairings


Halloween is all about indulging the little ones, right? We’ve got mums running all over the place to find the finest and freshest Disney swag their money can buy. Dads’ brows are covered in sweat as they attempt to carve their gigantic pumpkin with those cheap little knives that invariably break halfway through the second eyeball. Five separate trips to gian iggle are necessary to ensure a candy stockpile large enough to keep those devilish (yet very cute) trick-or-treaters at bay. On October 31, moms and dads everywhere indulge their little monsters on this ghostly night; even if that means breaking the bank to afford all that candy, risk losing a finger or two while carving that darn squash, and trekking through the inevitable Halloween rain, sleet, or snow.

Well guys, it’s time to indulge yourselves a wee bit too. When the sugar-crash sets in and your little ones drift peacefully into a deep candy coma, you may just find yourself thinking about perusing your kids’ pilla cases that are overflowing with candy. Most likely, the justifications will start to surface…surely they can’t eat ALL of this candy on their own, they will get sick if they do. Their dentist would WANT me to do this. And once you convince yourself that you’re doing this for the well-being of your children, you’ll be fishing out a few of your personal favorites in no time.

But your palate has changed since childhood. You’ll need something to cut the piercing sweetness of those beautiful little bombs of sugar. And it just so happens that craft beer makes the ultimate pairing for halloween candy. We spoke with some of the most talented brewers in Pittsburgh and here’s the run down on their personal favorite craft beer and candy pairings…

Steve and Dyana from Roundabout Brewery suggests their Jacked Up O’Lantern Stout (Coffee Stout brewed with Pumpkin Pie Spices) paired with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. There’s no wrong way to beer a Reese’s.

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Zachary and Erika Shumaker from ShuBrew suggests their Murphy’s Paw (Brown Porter) with a Almond Joy. It’s one of their favorites because the combination is reminiscent of a decadent German Chocolate Cake. The luscious chocolate coating perfectly complements the roasted barley notes of the beer. And the coconut shavings adds a kiss of tropical sweetness to make this one killer pairing.

Christian and Mark from Four Seasons Brewing Co. suggests their award-winning Dark Side of the Pint (Oatmeal Stout) with chocolate covered pretzels. However, the chocolate covered pretzels must be from a local chocolatier- brewers orders!

Matt from Hop Farm Brewing Co. suggests his Cherry Bomb (Imperial Berliner Weisse) with Sour Patch Kids. Those little sour bombs assault your tastebuds with their intensely potent sugar crystals. Heck, why not totally obliterate what’s left of them by washing it all down with one of Pittsburgh’s boldest sour beers. However, Matt’s not all about the tricks, he does enjoy a few treats as well. His sweeter side suggests their Kulak (Russian Imperial Stout) with a classic Snickers bar.

Asa from The Brew Gentlemen also spoke highly about pairing Sour Patch Kids with their sour wheat beer, Gose. However, this particular sour beer is light, balanced, and totally refreshing. It lends itself well to tart food pairings because it highlights a rather unique ingredient- sea salt. The gentleman also suggests their White Sky (Chai-spiced Wheat Beer) with those timeless Candy Corns. This quintessential Halloween candy nestles in perfectly with those beloved fall time flavors found in this extraordinary chai-spiced brew.

Sean Hallisey from Full Pint Brewing Co. suggests that their Night of the Living Stout (West Coast Stout) goes eerily well with Black Licorice and Candy Corn. 

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Nate from Draai Laag Brewing Co. is an old pro at pairing halloween candy with beer and he suggests their Simon Girty (Belgian Dark Ale) with a Kit Kat, and their Yodeler (Belgian Style Barley Wine) with a Milky Way. His most thrilling pairing is their Haviken (Belgian Duppel) with Tootsie Caramel Apple Pops. The Haviken beer is roasty and toasty just like a porter but has a sour cherry finish from the Brettanomyces yeast. The roastiness of the beer will highlight the sweet, rich caramel patches, while the sour cherry flavor further accentuates the tartness of the candy. What a spooktacular pairing!

Jamie from Milkman Brewing Co. suggests their Dahntahn Brahn (Brown Ale) with Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds Bar. This pairing is about as classic as they come. The sultry milk chocolate and toasted almonds pair beautifully this local ale. The Milkmen sure delivered with this milk chocolate pairing!

Scott from East End Brewing Co. enjoys passing out halloween candy while sippin’ on his Black Strap Stout (American Stout) and snacking on York Peppermint Patties. It’s scary how perfect they taste together.

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You work hard on Halloween; you too deserve some treats along the way! Whether you have kids bringing home more candy than they can safely manage, or just plan on taking advantage of all the discounted candy after Halloween has come and gone; it’s the perfect time to experiment with all the magical combinations. Use the expertise of our local brewers to guide you in pairing your favorite candies with some delicious Pittsburgh brews. Which pairings will leave you completely spellbound?

Cheers N’at

Devo and Tim

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Hop Craze Hits Hard Liquor


Craft brewers love their hops. Now craft distilleries like Wigle Whiskey are joining in on the craze.

The highly creative Wigle distillers felt it was time for hops to be enjoyed in something other than a brewski; so they called upon their highly coveted wheat whiskey to take on some majorly fresh local hops.

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Beer Caramel Apples


Autumn is the best time to indulge one’s sweet tooth. When I think about fall time treats, I immediately think caramel apples. In late September, the highly anticipated honey crisp apples reach their peak harvest dates. These apples are legendary for their crispy, sweet, and tart characteristics which makes them the perfect candidates for caramel apples. They are so delicious, not just any ol’ caramel sauce will do. We’ve cooked with beer long enough to know that it would go wonderfully in a decadent caramel coating. The beer adds a beautiful depth of flavor that perfectly balances the sweetness of the caramel…Click Continue for Full Post

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Pumking Ale Monkey Bread


Pumking Ale is one of our all time favorite autumn brews. It’s like drinking the most delicious boozy pumpkin pie ever known to man. Although it is not from a Pittsburgh brewery, it still feels very homey to us. For the past couple of years, we have gone up to Lake Chautauqua to relax and spend quality time with our family and friends. It just so happens that Southern Tier Brewing Co. is a quick trip up the road. Our summers would not be complete without a visit to their stunning brewery. As a big bonus, STBC releases their Pumking Ale early so we are able to drink it fresh from the source. To pay homage to one of our favorite breweries outside the ‘burgh, we created a decadent pastry- Pumking Ale Monkey Bread smothered in Pumking Ale Caramel Sauce. Not familiar with monkey bread? It’s like a giant cinnamon roll and you tear off each little cinnamon sugar bread bubble, kind of like how monkeys pick at their food. Just like Pumking Ale has bewitched our tastebuds, this recipe too will have you completely spellbound….Click Continue for Full Post

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Nunkin Pumpkin Cake


I love the fall and everything that goes along with it…including the beer selection. And I will be the first one to admit that I count the seconds until brewers release their fall offerings, especially the pumpkin ones. But it turns out that those so called pumpkin beers aren’t really pumpkin flavored….at all. Usually, they are ales loaded with tons of wonderful holiday spices that closely mimic grandma’s beloved pumpkin pie….Click Continue for Full Post

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Drunken Balsamic Bacon Jam on Peppercorn Rye Ale Bread


Appetizers are the perfect way to prepare guests’ taste-buds for an indulgent feast. But traditional appetizers like wine and cheese can be so….. formal… and sometimes stuffy.  So we switched out wine for beer and cheese for bacon to make an epic drunken treat that will easily spark conversation among your guests. Here’s what to expect- It’s a balsamic bacon beer jam slathered on top of a creamy layer of goat cheese. It’s adorned with peppery arugula and all this rests nicely on top of a hearty slice of Peppercorn Rye Ale bread. It’s a symphony of flavors- savory, salty, sour and sweet; it’s truly the perfect starter to any meal. It has all the flavor complexities without all the conventional stuffiness. Enjoy the finer things in life…like bacon and beer in spreadable form….Click Continue for Full Post

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Beerf Jerky


Beer and meat make the ultimate pairing. Not only do well-crafted brews bring great flavor to the table (literally), they also make a wonderful, tenderizing marinade. Beer has enzymes that help break down the tough fibers found in most  red meat, which makes beer even more tempting to cook with. Trust me, this is the most tender and flavorful beef jerky you will ever try. This recipe choice came to us in a very Roundabout way. It was my……Click Continue for Full Post

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Spent Grain Pizza


Spent grains are the leftover malt (grains) after most of its sugars, proteins, and nutrients have been extracted. The spent grains can make up over 80% of a brewery’s total by-product. Conscientious brewers like Scott Smith, owner of East End Brewing Co. makes sure that his spent grains are given a very useful (and delicious) second life. Scott sends his spent grains to 4 local farms: 2 dairy, 1 hog, and 1 chicken. He also gives them out to local beer bloggers who want to incorporate it in their cooking (If you ask very nicely, he may be extra generous and hook you up too). If you are a homebrewer- you’re definitely in luck because you’ll have an ample supply of these flavorful nuggets. We found that one of the best ways to highlight spent grains is to throw them in a tasty pizza dough. The grains give the crust an awesome, chewy texture that is second to none. You gotta try this recipe out, I promise it’s time well spent….Click Continue for Full Post

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Pittsburgh Beer : The History Here


“To know your future, you first must understand your past” – George Santayana. As you may know, Pittsburgh has always been a beer drinkers’ town. When Pittsburgh was newly established, several local microbreweries slowly started to emerge. Then in the late 1800’s, all those small scale breweries joined forces to form one massive brewing empire. When the big Pittsburgh beer hit troubled waters, microbreweries seized the opportunity to satisfy thirsty Pittsburghers once again. Pittsburgh’s complex brewing history is chocked full of surprises; we’ve got name changes, location changes, fraudulent owners, and some very passionate brewers that passed on their craft to future generations . Here’s a snippet of Pittsburgh’s brewing history and how our breweries came full circle….Click Continue for Full Post

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