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Summit Suds: Pairing beer and Girl Scout Cookies

Lemon Ups, Thin Mints and Tagalongs sit in front of glasses of Angry James Brewing Co.’s Citra Lager, Two Tone Footer Stout and Stellar Merger. The Silverthorne brewery recently hosted its third annual Girl Scout Cookies and beer pairing event.
Jefferson Geiger / jgeiger@summitdaily.com

‘Tis the season for Girl Scout Cookies. The colorful boxes full of delicious treats can be found for sale outside of grocery stores, on street corners, in offices and other locations. Over the years, breweries across the country have been tapping into people’s love of Girl Scout Cookies with pairing events. Even places like The Baker’s Brewery and HighSide Brewing have made cookie-inspired beers.

This month, Angry James Brewing Co. continued its tradition of marrying the two to benefit local Troop 55314.

“It’s just always a big hit, and it’s really a good way for that Girl Scout troop to sell a bunch a cookies,” co-owner A.J. Brinckerhoff said. “It’s also a chance for the parents to socialize and a chance for people to actually taste the product right there.”

Brinckerhoff noted that craft beer pairings are going the route of wine pairings and are becoming more popular. The brewery also has paired its Two Tone Footer Stout and Stellar Merger with Higgles Ice Cream for Timberline Craft Kitchen & Cocktails.

Organized and designed by the local troop, the cookie menu pairings include the peanut butter Do-Si-Dos with the Norwegian Farmhouse and Mountain Vibes IPA, S’mores with the Pilsner Per Favore and Bavarian Blonde, and Samoas with the Powder Stache Porter. Patrons who have gone to the event in the past will notice the options are different this time, mainly because the tap list has changed but also because Brinckerhoff wanted to have more light beer options and not fall into the trap of matching the stout with every cookie.

“The fun thing is, there really is a cookie for each beer and a beer for each cookie,” Brinckerhoff said. However, it’s important to realize these pairings are guidelines. 

“It’s not an exact science. It’s more of an art,” Brinckerhoff said. “By no means do you have to drink this beer with this cookie. Everybody’s palate is a little bit different.” 

The full pairing menu of Angry James Brewing Co. and Girl Scout Cookies.
Courtesy Angry James Brewing Co.

Though the event has passed, feel free to bring your own cookies to the brewery and try the suggested pairings or come up with your own combinations. I wasn’t able to try each beer and cookie in a sitting, but here are my observations from the three I sampled.

Lemon Ups

A new offering this year are these crispy, glazed lemon cookies baked with various messages on them. The icing makes it sweeter than a standard shortbread, and I liked how the size has it last longer than a single bite.

When combined with the Citra Lager, the one-two punch of citrus and citrus flavors was like eating an effervescent, bright lemon cake. Neither overpowers the other, and the hoppy finish cleanses the palate for the next bite. I could see this as a good pseudo-afternoon teatime pairing suitable for the summer as well. 

I also tried it with the Terrifica Double IPA, and while the India pale ale was earthier, it was also a tad sweeter. I personally would pick the lager if I had to choose between the two, but any version of lemon cookies and a hop-forward drink should work.

Thin Mints

The crispy peppermint wafers coated in chocolate have been my favorite Girl Scout baked good for as long as I can remember. Light in body but deep in flavor, I think they’re best served frozen with a glass of milk. Angry James doesn’t have access to my kitchen, however, so I went with the Two Tone Footer Stout, though it also could be paired with the Powder Stache Porter.

The stout has a roasted coffee flavor from the Jazzy Java beans, and the chocolate malt gives it a touch of sweetness to suitably handle the cookie. Yet I found the Thin Mints almost overpowered the beer’s profile. Each tasted fine on its own, but I was a little disappointed that they didn’t mesh as well as I thought they would.

Tagalongs

The patties use milk instead of dark chocolate, giving it more creaminess and sweetness than the Thin Mints. Yet it’s not as heavy as, say, a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, partly due to there being less chocolate and more shortbread. Therefore the Stellar Merger imperial milk stout can go toe-to-toe with the sugary dessert. Aged in Breckenridge bourbon barrels, it’s the brewery’s strongest beer at 9.5% alcohol by volume.

While Lemon Ups and Citra Lager work well in the daytime, Stellar Merger and Tagalongs are a filling dessert perfect for the end of the night. Bourbon and peanut butter is a great smoky, nutty combo.

If you want a dark beer that isn’t as high in alcohol, I was surprised to find the Tagalongs did not overpower the Two Tone Footer Stout. Instead, they form a nice contrast. Whereas the Stellar is like having dessert wine on top of another decadent dessert, this is tamer, like an after-dinner coffee and biscuit.

Jefferson Geiger is the arts and entertainment editor for the Summit Daily News and managing editor for Everything Summit. Have a question about beer? Send him an email at jgeiger@summitdaily.com.


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