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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Beer for Breakfast: Pairing Coconut Pancakes with CoCoNut Porter, Espresso Stout, Imperial Stout

A few weeks ago, I found a recipe for Coconut Milk Pancakes on The Endive Chronicles.  Despite pancakes conventionally being served for breakfast, I was inspired to pair these pancakes with beer. I immediately thought of Maui Brewing Co.’s CoCoNut Porter. When I went to my local liquor store to get the beer, I also spotted Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout and Santa’s Little Helper from Port Brewing.

The pancake recipe is very simple. I used kosher salt instead of sea salt because that’s what I had in my pantry.  Also, the original recipe makes a very thick batter.  I thinned it out by adding milk - tablespoon by tablespoon - and ended up adding three tablespoons of milk. I want to try less added milk next time to see if I get fluffier pancakes.  The end product is a sweet pancake so I did not find the need to make the Coconut Syrup recipe.

First, I tried the pancakes with the CoCoNut Porter, which paired beautifully.  Usually, when I’ve enjoyed this beer alone, it’s rather sweet.  Having this sweet pancake makes the beer taste less sweet and more bitter, which is refreshing in this pairing.

Next, I tried the Espresso Stout. This pairing was like breakfast: the sweet pancake made the espresso stout bitter like drinking black coffee or espresso with pancakes in the morning.

Finally, I paired the Santa’s Little Helper.  This imperial stout had an aroma of chocolate, caramel, pecan, and booze. The body was so syrupy thick that I tried pouring a quarter teaspoon onto the pancakes. This made the pancakes taste more bitter and astringent. As expected, this big stout stands on it’s own; meaning, the flavor is unchanged with food and even overpowers anything eaten with it.

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