Ah, Europe. The birthplace of many modern types of beer and the motherland of cultivated hops. The first documented hop cultivation is from 936 in the Hallertau region of present-day Germany, an area that remains important in the global hop-growing outlook. In fact, according to the Brewers Association, 80-90% of Germany’s hops came from Bavaria in 2015 (and most from Hallertau, a mere 180 square kilometer area). Overall, Germany produces 60% of Europe’s hop crop and holds about one-third of the world’s hop-growing acreage, says the European Commission for Agriculture and Rural Development.
It’s not a simple act to find a beer to pair with sweets and dessert. Beer doesn’t always play well with other sweet things, and can easily overwhelm or be minimized by dessert. The trick is to not only think about complementary flavors but complementary mouthfeel (texture) and body (richness) as well. You probably wouldn’t have great success in pairing a barley wine with a lemon sorbet, for instance, but a light-bodied brighter beer (like a tripel or a strong golden) would probably do just fine. So here I put rich, buttery (and rather crumbly) shortbread cookies alongside a malty, caramel-y beer for good effect.