Thursday, June 10, 2010

Recap: Chocolate + Beer at Finale

Rich, decadent desserts paired with some of the finest microbrews. Yeah. That was my Monday night.

Finale in Brookline (with additional locations in Boston and Cambridge) held their second chocolate and beer pairing this past Monday from 6:30 to 8 p.m., after an overwhelming response for their first tasting a few weeks prior. I was on the waiting list for the first event, and was called directly by Finale when they decided to hold a second.

The event paired five different desserts, prepared by Finale’s pastry chef, with five different brews, presented by Matt Webster, President of Drink a Better Brew. The menu consisted of:

-Ommegang Hennepin (light, citrusy, slightly hoppy brew) paired with Creme Brulee
-Troegs Nugget Nectar (intensely malty and hoppy) paired with Mexican Vanilla Cheesecake
-Dogfish Raison D'Etre (deep, Belgian-style brown ale brewed with beet sugar, raisins, and Belgian-style yeast) paired with Hazelnut Cake (insanely moist, flavored with hazelnut flour and saturated with syrup)
-Oskar Blues Old Chub Scotch Ale (strong, Scottish ale with hints of cocoa and coffee) paired with Ultimate Chocolate Cake (bittersweet chocolate mousse layered with chocolate buttermilk cake)
-Unibroue Trois Pistoles (beer enhanced with roasted malt, cocoa, ripe fruit and dark spices) paired with Dark Chocolate Decadence (dense, flourless, truffle-like chocolate cake with a hint of coffee)

What makes many of Finale’s desserts different is the unique twist they put on old classics. Case in point: The cheesecake of the evening was an extra creamy, Mexican Vanilla Cheesecake, which had an earthier flavor to it versus regular old cheesecake. The hops from the Nugget Nectar also complemented the cheesecake's earthy flavor beautifully.

My favorite pairing of the evening was the crème brulee with the Hennepin. The beer itself was light and refreshing with strong notes of citrus and flower, and it paired beautifully with the creamy, not-too-sweet crème brulee. My dining companion marked this creme brulee the best she's ever had, and I couldn't agree more.

To be honest, I didn't dislike any of the pairings that evening - every brew worked wonderfully with its accompanying dessert. Finale really nailed these flavor combinations. The last two chocolate desserts were a little too intense for me, though, as I'm not a huge dessert/chocolate person, but their accompanying beers did help to cut their intense sugar levels.

The cost of the event was a mere $19.99, although the restaurant charged us over $7 for gratuity – and we were only a party of two. I didn't think this was necessary, but the staff was extremely informative, interactive, and clearly worked hard to put the event together - so I can let this one go.

What's your favorite beer to have with/for dessert?


  1. I'm no beer expert but I love darker beers like Newcastle and Guinness with my desserts, especially something chocolatey!

  2. WOW that looks amazing! What a fantastic event! When is the next one is what I want to know??

  3. Not sure when the next one is, but I'd keep an eye on the events page on their site - they update it very often!