There's a reason the majority of New Year's resolutions to finally start eating right last only about a month: Girl Scout cookies. Once those cute little be-sashed monsters start peddling their boxes of high-calorie deliciousness, it's game over. But we here at Chow Bella buy into the "in for a penny, in for a pound" mantra -- especially when the poundage is added to our waistlines by tasty, tasty treats -- so we decided to try out this year's batch of Girl Scout cookies with a few of our favorite local beers.
Thin Mints The pairing: Arizona Wilderness Superstition Coffee Stout The cookie is simple: a crispy chocolate wafer dipped in a mint chocolate coating. But from that simplicity is born something so tantalizing, it begs to be eaten by the sleeve. We think it's a texture thing -- the cooling sensation of the mint; the contrast of the cookie's snap with its smooth chocolate shell. This pairing plays further off this textural blend, adding oily, spicy coffee beans to the mix. Brewed with Mexican vanilla and seven pounds of coffee per barrel, Arizona Wilderness' coffee stout is as morning-brew-forward as the cookie is mint-heavy. Together, the beer's toasted malt and the cookie's chocolate harmonize, while the coffee and mint invigorate your senses.
Samoas The pairing: Papago Coconut Joe I once got into a heated argument with a friend over which Girl Scout cookie was best. He insisted Samoas ruled over all of cookie kingdom; I was certain that Caramel deLites were better. Things almost came to blows before someone notified us that we were, in fact, fighting over the same cookie. The confusion came about because Girl Scout cookies are produced by two different bakers -- which box you get depends on where you live. (In metro Phoenix, it's Samoas all the way.) No matter the name, however, the recipe is the same: cookies coated in caramel, sprinkled with toasted coconut and striped with chocolate coating. For me, the caramel and chocolate of Caramel deLites (I'll call them that until I die) have always overpowered the coconut, so this pairing adds in the flavor that's lacking. As a bonus, the beer's chocolate notes mirror those in the cookie before a semi-dry finish cuts the sugary caramel.
Tagalongs The pairing: Fate Schiller Stout This special version of Fate's imperial stout brewed with cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, coffee and ancho chiles is a perfect playmate for these nutty treats -- the beer's cocoa and vanilla echo the cookie's chocolate coating and vanilla-flavored framework. Often served on nitro, the rich brew has a big body to match the cookie's peanut butter creaminess, and the chile heat sprinkled over the top of the matchup adds a wrinkle you never thought you'd enjoy so much. Trefoils The pairing: Oak Creek Amber Ale Butter, sugar, vanilla, flour. Traditional shortbread cookies are fairly straightforward, flavor-wise, and require a beer that won't get in the way. Oak Creek's Amber Ale is light enough to allow the cookie to shine, but flavorful enough to provide its own caramel-ly backdrop to the proceedings. A mild buttery note accents a main ingredient in the cookie before a sweet, bready finish.
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Do-si-dos The pairing: Four Peaks Oatmeal Stout Oatmeal cookie, meet oatmeal stout. Four Peaks' dark brew is a good one to choose here, for it has just the right amount of bitterness to cut the rich peanut butter while adding toasted notes that boost the cookie's nuttiness.
Savannah Smiles The pairing: Lumberyard Knotty Pine A pale ale and a cookie? Yes, bitter hops can be the perfect foil for desserts that are sugary, as their resins tend to cut cloying sweetness. These wedge cookies are also flavored with lemon, which makes them perfect playmates for this citrusy brew.