I was intrigued the first time I heard about beer cookies; cookies designed to be paired with beer. Would they be purely savory? Slightly bitter? More like crackers? In the press release, I learned that I could pick up some South Durham Confection Company's cookies at Fullsteam in Durham, N.C. During my last trip to N.C., I picked up 9 oz. bags of each of their flavors - Curry Spice, Toasted Sesame, and Blue Cheese Rosemary. As you can see on the packaging, there are a few beer pairing suggestions.
These cookies are like biscuits, or as I like to call them, Grown Up Cookies. They are not overly sweet and there are complex flavors that mingle savory, sweet, spicy, and bitter.
The Curry Spice cookie had a strong cumin/clove aroma which made me expect a savory biscuit. Instead, this cookie was sweet and spicy, like eating homemade pumpkin/zuchini bread. The cinnamon and black peppercorn add a spicy zing, which nicely lingers on the palate even after I washed it down with Dupont Moinette Blonde. This was a true pairing; the garam masala spices enhanced the clove flavors in the Belgian blonde.
When I paired this cookie with the Ballast Point Sculpin IPA, the spiciness washed down well. This pairing created a sensation similar to drinking IPA with savory spicy food without the grease and salt.
Blue Cheese and Rosemary
With the Blue Cheese and Rosemary cookie, the cheese is mild and not sour. With the Sculpin IPA, the extreme flavors of cheese and hoppiness are mellowed. I paired this with the 2011 Symposium New Albion Porter that I had leftover from this year's Craft Brewer's Conference. With the porter, the flavors in the cookie didn't change much. It was a nice pairing; like having a morning cup of coffee with a sweet and savory scone.
This is the mildest and least extreme of all the cookies. This does not mean that it is boring. The cookie is sweet and nutty. I could eat it every day and serve it to unadventurous guests. The sweetness from the sesame cookie matched with the sweetness of the New Albion Porter. The nutty toastiness matched with the Big Boss Bad Penny dark brown ale that I carried home from N.C.