Girl Scout Cookies & Their Ultimate Craft Beer Pairing
It’s that time of year again! We wait all year for March to roll around so we can finally restock on what many of us refer to as fuel: Girl Scout Cookies. Whether you’re a Thin Mint lover, Samoas crusher, or wait for the seasonal offering, there’s always a cookie designed (you believe) just for you.
This year is an opportunity to enjoy your favorite cookie in an entirely new way – paired with a luscious brew. Columbus has no shortage of craft breweries, and there are so many microbrews available today, it seems like the time has finally come for biscuit to meet beer.
Here’s a list of the most popular Girl Scout Cookies and complementary ales. Of course, this isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a good place to start if you’re really into elevating your cookie game in 2014:
These buttery little nuggets are the simplest, but some of the most delicious, cookies the Girl Scouts sell. Its purity lends itself to lighter flavors, pairing well with drinks that are spritzy and not too sweet on the finish. For a local brew, try the Alpha Tripel from Wolf’s Ridge Brewing. It has notes of apple, banana, and pear, and an impressive Champagne-like finish that cuts through the rich buttery cookie like a hot knife. Its 8.9% ABV assures that you’ll sip and savor, which is the way fine biscuit and brew should be enjoyed.
- Honorable Ohio Brewery Mention – Wildcat Sally from Staas Brewing: effervescent, slightly citrus, mild spice.
- Honorable Craft Beer Mention: Ommegang Rare VOS: sweet mellow with hints of orange, grains of paradise, and coriander.
Tagalongs (Peanut Butter & Chocolate Patties)
For many, the marriage of chocolate and peanut butter is one divined by the gods, so choosing the right beer to complement the rich flavors of both, while ensuring that the beer still shines, is no easy task. It’s why Seventh Son Brewing’s Mr. Owl must have been made while downing a box of these treasured treats. Mr Owl, a Double India Brown that clocks in at 8.8% ABV, starts nutty on the tongue and finishes with milky chocolate. It’s almost like drinking a tootsie pop, in the best possible way, and so perfectly matched with the tagalong, it’s hard to imagine enjoying that cookie again without one.
- Honorable Ohio Brewery Mention – Chomolungma from Jackie O’s Brewing: bittersweet chocolate flavor, rich dark fruit roundness on the finish.
- Honorable Craft Beer Mention: Spring House Big Gruesome Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout: roasted coffee, aged vanilla, actual peanut butter.
Samoas (Caramel DeLites)
To have a frozen samoa cookie, or a box of them, must be what unfiltered euphoria tastes, and feels, like. The combination of toasted coconut, luscious caramel, and subtle chocolate is decadent, and this cookie tops the list for many a Girl Scout cookie lover. When paired with North High Brewing’s Wildcard English Ale, light shines in a single beam from the sky, angels sing, and doves cry. This 5.2% ABV offering is brewed with a special roast and aged with vanilla beans to create a round sweetness that matches the tropical coconut in a manner that’s pleasantly unexpected. The fact that the beer is only served carbonated with nitrogen only adds to the soft and smooth fullness of the cookie’s flavor and texture.
- Honorable Ohio Brewery Mention – Kitka Coconut Chocolate Milk Stout from Brew Kettle Brewing: milk chocolate, fruity cocoa, coconut, like a Mounds bar.
- Honorable Craft Beer Mention – Southern Tier Crème Brulée Stout: sweet, resonant vanilla, dark caramel notes, custardy feel in the mouth.
Thin Mints (Nuff said)
There is no better, or more tasty, showcase for the dynamic duo of chocolate and mint than the Thin Mint cookie, arguably the most popular in the Girl Scout line. The almost-bitter dark chocolate coating is the perfect offset for cool mint. Barley’s Brewing Company’s Alexander Russian Imperial Stout is an amazing foil for this cookie. It’s the kind of beer folks suggest you eat with a spoon because its subtle fruitiness and big roast flavors are so well-balanced, it’s like a well-crafted dessert. At 7.6% ABV, it’s not a beer to chug, which is perfect, because indulging in a Thin Mint is taking the time to pleasure yourself, so feel free to slow down and let the play between fresh mint and bold chocolate take you away.
- Honorable Ohio Brewery Mention – Hippy Sippy Imperial Stout from Fat Head’s Brewery: bitter chocolate, coffee, dark fruit.
- Honorable Craft Beer Mention – Magic Hat G-Thing: ginger spice, toasted cinnamon, malty smoothness.
Lemonades (Lemon Icing Shortbread)
For those who love a citrus pang, Lemonades are ideal, a winning combination of sweet, buttery vanilla and tangy, zesty lemon. Its tartness is both vivid and addicting, which makes this a great year-round cookie: perfect for summer months or when wishing for them. Eating a Lemonade with a Big Star IPA from Four String Brewing is like surrendering yourself to hot sun and dynamic spice. This cookie needs an IPA to cut through its potentially clawing sweetness, and the 7% ABV Big Star, with its blend of bitter grapfruit and perky wheat, is a top-notch choice for a pairing.
- Honorable Ohio Brewery Mention – Musk of the Minotaur from Hoof Hearted Brewing: orange, grapefruit, crisp bitterness.
- Honorable Craft Beer Mention – 5 Rabbit 5 Lizard Latin Style Witbier: coriander, passion fruit, lime, big juiciness.
Thank You Berry Munch (White Fudge Chip & Cranberries)
A little sweet, a little tart, Thank You Berry Munch is the cookie for the ones who loved fruit cake growing up. It’s like a mature, less dry version of the old-time dessert that pays as much homage to the subtle vanilla-ness of white chocolate as it does to the soft acidity of dried cranberries. The cookie resonates when partnered with Actual Brewing’s Cordial Julian, their Fat Julian Imperial Stout brewed with OYO Bourbon-infused cherries. It gives a big coffee hit up front that immediately, and successfully, blends into the subtle fruitiness of the cherries. The finish is big on chocolate, making this a perfect choice to complement both the fudge chips and the cranberries. In a pinch, the Fat Julian, at 9% ABV, is still an excellent choice.
- Honorable Ohio Brewery Mention – Saison Noir from Rockmill Brewing: raspberries, caramel, slight smokiness.
- Honorable Craft Beer Mention – Lost Coast Raspberry Brown: raspberry, caramel, malted sweetness
Cookies and beer is not a traditional partnership, but it’s one that has finally reached its time. There are so many amazing craft beers out there, now is the perfect time to find what really makes your palate sing. And, if nothing else, now you have a great excuase to leave the hibernation state into which this Winter has forced us all. Happy Eating and Drinking!