If I had to pick one berry to eat for the rest of my life, I’d pick raspberries. The queen of berries to me: sweet and tart, soft and seedy, best friends with cream and chocolate…I could wax for a while, but luckily I don’t have to live on one berry alone. However you feel about raspberries, I hope you can imagine them paired with a lovely beer. And I’ve got just that…and a regal beer as well.
Belgian quadruppel, a big, rich, somewhat sweet, complex bodied beer. Fourth in line after Belgian singles (light, yeasty and drinkable), dubbels (darker malts, caramel notes and rich fruit flavors), trippels (light bodied somewhat sweet and multi-dimensioned esters). Quads come back to their darker dubbel roots and usually have some fruitcakey or dark fruit flavors like prunes or currants. They vary, of course, and most stand up fantastically to some time in the bottle. They’re a treat of a beer.
I originally began this pairing exploration with a Belgian White, which really was nice. Summery and fun. But mid-way through my photo shoot someone interrupted me with a taste of an American-made Belgian-style quad and I was sold enough to switch gears immediately. So here you have it.
Three Reasons Why This Pairing Works
1. Chocolatey notes in the beer’s malt profile work splendidly with the raspberries. This is a classic combination–chocolate and raspberries, that is. Common in summer desserts and confections.
2. Roasted malts bring a mild acidity–this blends in nicely alongside the sweetness in the berries. This depends on how roasty your quad is and also how ripe your berries are–but in most cases I can imagine a good balance.
3. By nature and by fermentation technique Belgian yeasts impart a lot of esters into their beers–these are a variety of fruity or spicy flavors. Most or all of these seem to go magnificently with raspberries.
I like to focus on the base line of flavor pairings, but I encourage you to take this further if you’d like. Raspberry shortcake, raspberry pie, raspberry preserves on brioche–maybe even raspberry truffles or chocolate bars.
As for quads–the world is your oyster. Belgium is the best and first place to look for inspiration, but there are a lot of American craft beer options as well. I drank the Blackberry Farms Abbey Quad from Tennessee, which I highly recommend if you can get your hands on it (East Coasters and Southerners you probably can!). Boulevard, Ommegang, or Lost Abbey may also be able to provide you with good options!