"Dr." Bill Sysak from Wild Barrel Brewing tells us what halloween candies go best with craft beer | Dana & Jayson

Endless combinations with all that extra Halloween Candy!

October 31, 2018

Sometimes you just have to call in the experts. Since the candy will be plentiful tonight in San Diego, Dana & Jayson wanted you to be prepared with the best candy and craft beer pairings to make sure you scare up some fun after the kids have fallen into a sugar coma. Our good friend, and beer pairing expert Dr. Bill Sysak​ from Wild Barrel Brewing Company joined us this morning to give you his picks for the best savory and sweet candies to match with some of San Diego's top craft beers. 

Listen to what he had to say then read his full pick list below!


Halloween Candy and Craft Beer Pairings

By “Dr.” Bill Sysak “Master Pairings” - CEO Wild Barrel Brewing Company

Good morning Trick or Treaters or I should say parents of trick or treaters!

As much as I loved going out and getting a pillow case full of candy as a kid why should the fun stop just because you become an adult. With the versatility of craft beer, it doesn’t have to. There isn’t a food item in the world that can’t be paired with craft beer and to prove it I’ve taken 10 of the most popular Halloween candies and paired them each with two beers. One beer comes from our own Wild Barrel Brewing Company and the second is from other local San Diego breweries.

Why is craft beer such an amazing pairing vehicle compared to say wine or whiskey?

  • Craft beer has carbonation which acts as scrubbing bubbles to cleanse the palate in between each bite.
  • Craft beer can have bitterness which cuts through fats and proteins like meats, cheeses, &chocolates.
  • Craft beer can have sweetness which soothes hot or spicy foods.
  • Craft beer can have roasted grains which matches the “Maillard Reaction” a fancy chef’s term for the non-enzymatic browning of meats and breads. Like caramelization.
  • Craft beer also has bitterness that can accentuate heat and spice so if you are a chilihead like me there is nothing better than a clean crisp IPA paired with something spicy.

Ok now that you know a little bit more about craft beer here we go with my Top 10 Halloween Candy & Craft:

1.     Candy Corn you either love it or hate it. It is probably the most polarizing candy on the list. Try pairing it with Wild Barrel White Rabbit Wit beer or Société The Harlot Belgian blonde. Both beers use a Belgian yeast strain that imparts fruity esters with a hint of spice with a high carbonation that cuts through the caramel sweetness of the candy.

2.     Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups paired with Wild Barrel Hipster Latte coffee milk stout or Arrogant Bastard Ale. The peanut butter and milk chocolate is the perfect accompaniment to the Mostra Brazilian coffee blends bitterness and the creamy mouth feel of the Hipster Latte and brings out caramel and toffee notes in the Arrogant Bastard with a hint of citrus and spice from the hops.

3.     Hershey Kisses paired with Wild Barrel Vice w/ Black Currants or Rip Current Dubbel Point Break Belgian Dubbel. The Vice w/ Black Currant when paired with milk chocolate brings out bright cherry and sweet berry notes. Think tart chocolate covered blueberries. Belgian Dubbels already have chocolate aromas and flavors and the Hershey Kiss brings out winter fruit notes of fig and raisin.

4.     Starburst or Skittles, two of my favorite Halloween candies paired with Wild Barrel Hop Obsession or Burgeon Beer’s Treevana IPA. IPA’s as a whole are a hit with these candies bringing out the faux fruit flavors of the candies and accentuating the hops citrus, tropical, stone fruit, or pine notes.

5.     Butterfinger is a crispy peanut butter center covered in chocolate. I’m pairing two big beers with it Wild Barrel Hipster Chocolate covered Orange at 13.3% and AleSmith Wee Heavy Scotch Ale 10%. The Wild Barrel Imperial stout will marry the peanut butter and orange, sound weird, then think peanut butter and Orange marmalade sandwich while drinking a chocolate shake.

6.     Almond Joy paired with Wild Barrel Hipster’s Halloween. Hipster Halloween is Almond Joy in a glass, chocolate, toasted coconut, & almonds has been added to this 13.3% Imperial Stout.

7.     Snickers paired with Wild Barrel Hipster in the Raw and Lost Abbey Red Poppy. Hipster in the Raw is our base Imperial Stout with big dark chocolate and espresso coffee notes and works beautifully with the peanuts and caramel. Lost Abbey Red Poppy is a sour Flemish Red Ale aged in French Oak barrels. Tart cherry with hints of vanilla and Cinnamon in the finish caresses the milk chocolate sweetness.

8.     Hot Tamales paired with Wild Barrel Prince of Dankness or Stone Enjoy By IPA. These two big west coast style IPA’s hold up to the spicy cinnamon notes from the candy and accentuate it, while still keeping their bitter hoppy goodness.

9.     Sweet Tarts paired with Wild Barrel Vice with Strawberries or Rouleur Soloist. Vice with strawberries is often described as a sweet tart beer with a huge strawberry nose and a tart finish. Soloist is an 8.5% Belgian Golden ale with a dry crisp highly carbonated finish perfect with these candies.

10.     I’m leaving the 10th spot blank for you to try your own pairing!

- Cheers!

*Wild Barrel Brewing Company is proud to be an Independent Craft Brewery and a member of the San Diego Brewers Guild, California Craft Brewers Association, and the Brewers Association.