Adam Lukey is head brewer at Grant Park’s Eventide Brewing, and has been brewing professionally for seven years. With a degree in molecular biology, his approach to brewing is deeply rooted in science. Adam joined Eventide Brewing in 2019, and helped Eventide navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic by creating new, innovative beer recipes that kept regular and new customers alike coming back to see what fresh and exciting beers were on tap.
Rough Draft asked Adam for his Top 5, and he gave us this list of beer and candy pairings as we gear up for Halloween.
1. Kit Kat: My beer choice to pair with this chocolate-covered, snappy wafer bar is a traditional German Altbier. This well-balanced, bitter yet malty, amber-colored beer pairs nicely with the Kit Kat’s milk chocolate to offset hop bitterness, and the wafer accentuates the malt by offering a crispy, wheat flavor which brightens the palate. Local Altbier of choice: ALT in the ATL by Fire Maker Brewing Co.
2. Skittles: A candy so aggressively sweet and fruity needs an equally strong beer. In this case, a Belgian Tripel. Originally brewed by monks in monasteries in Belgium, this golden ale is dry and aromatic with notes of spice (clove, nutmeg, allspice). The alcohol content of a Tripel is quite strong, usually ranging from 7.5 to 9.5% alcohol by volume. The fruit flavors of original Skittles are contrasted by the baking spice present in the Tripel, but are also complemented by additional fruity characters in the beer such as orange, citrus fruits, and banana. Local Belgian Tripel of Choice: Jude by Reformation Brewery.
3. Sour Patch Kids: I’ve always loved sour candy. From the mid to late ’90s when everything was “X-Treme!” we had Warheads, Tear Jerkers, Cry Baby, and various other types of candy, which, if taken in excess would actually make your mouth bleed. While Sour Patch Kids might not be as gnarly as these earlier candies, they still pack a mouth-puckering punch, and as such, need a beer to contrast and balance them out. In this case, I chose an American IPA to pair with Sour Patch Kids. The assertive bitterness is just right to balance out the sour from the candy, and the tropical citrus and stone fruit flavors from the IPA’s American hops compliment the candies’ flavors once the sourness subsides. Local American IPA of Choice: Slap Fight by Monday Night Brewing.
4. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups: One of the most-loved and tradeable Halloween candies is none other than the Reese’s. A delicious and plentiful beer style to pair with a Reese’s PB cup is a German Märzen. Traditionally brewed in March (German: März), the beer was then lagered (from the German “lagern,” meaning “to store”) at cool temperatures until Oktoberfest. The Märzen pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the Reese’s milk chocolate and saltiness of the peanut butter. Local Märzen of choice: Tucktoberfest by Tucker Brewing Co.
5. Hershey’s Special Dark: Dark chocolate is luxurious, highlighted by deep chocolate flavor, bitterness, coffee, roasted nuts and subtle berry aftertones. With such a multi-faceted and nuanced treat, you need a beer that can hold its own and deliver complimentary flavors. My beer to pair with dark chocolate would be a raspberry sour ale. Sour ales are characterized by lactic acid bacteria fermentation, and like many other fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut and pickles, a sour ale gets its tartness from this process. The addition of raspberry offers a touch of sweetness to bring balance and harmony to the beer. In pairing with dark chocolate, the sourness offsets the bitterness of the chocolate, and the raspberry gives you the sensation of a fruited truffle. Local Raspberry Sour Ale of choice: Rapturous by Three Taverns Brewery.