Nov 14, 2014

Flying Dog Oak Aged Hazelnut Scotch Ale and Ginger Cookies Pairing

When I first received an awesome beer and cookies package from Flying Dog last week, I knew right away which combinations I thought were going to work well and which were going to, well, not do that. The Imperial Hefeweizen and Sugar Cookies pairing wasn’t my favorite, but my initial reaction to the set up was that it would work better than an Oak Aged Hazelnut Scotch Ale paired with ginger cookies. This particular selection, of the four, was the one that I thought was the strangest and the one that I didn’t believe would work out to well.

Plain and simple, I was horribly wrong. After having had all four pairings — two more posts will be arriving next week — the Otterbein’s ginger cookies and this Hazelnut Scotch Ale aged for 30 days on oak turned out to be the most intriguing and favorite of the package. Neither half of the duo overpowered the other — each lent its own specialities to the overall flavor and experience, making both better in the long run.

Flying Dog Oak Aged Hazelnut Scotch Ale photo

The brew pours a rich mahogany with a large, lasting cap of tan foam. A peaty malt base fills the nose smoothly as woody notes, a hint of vanilla and distant hazelnut follow suit. The hazelnut presence is much more forward once the beer hits your lips more so than it is on the nose. The oak aging gives the scotch ale a woody character with hints of vanilla as the rich malt backbone brings caramel, bread and a light roast to the party. At 7.4% ABV the beer leaves a lightly warming impression in the slightly drying finish as the hazelnuts linger gently.

The ginger cookies, much like the last pairing’s sugar cookies are thin and wafer-like in appearance, cut in the shape of gingerbread men and hearts. The cookies put off quite the aroma as the giner wafts gently around the room. There’s an excellent crunch (or snap, if you will) and wonderful flavor. So far so good — each element of the pair is solid all on their own.

Flying Dog Oak Aged Hazelnut Scotch Ale photo

Though both items would be just fine on their own, the combination of the two is surprisingly excellent. I honestly did not expect the flavors (oak, vanilla, peaty malt, bread and ginger) to work nearly as well as they do. The combo was easily my favorite as the ginger simply accentuated the flavors within the beer, giving the hazelnut presence more depth. It’s a daring combination that I wish could drink all Winter long.

Rating: 4.25/5

This is a review of a promotional sample.

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