By Anita Smith
One of TV’s most iconic dads, Homer Simpson, is famously known for his love of donuts and beer. And most of us are, too! We love our donuts, we love our beer… but have you ever thought about enjoying the two together?
While most of us think of washing our donuts down with coffee or milk and having wings or pizza with our beer, believe it or not, donuts and beer make a dynamic duo. The malts, yeast, hops and subtle flavor notes in beer complement the super-sweet and sugary flavors you’ll find in most yeast and cake donuts. Don’t believe us? Check out these donut and beer pairings or head out to your local bakery or donut shop and grab a baker’s dozen, sit down with your favorite brews and conduct a taste test of your own!
HARPOON IPA WITH A BOSTON CREAM DONUT
What do Boston cream donuts and Harpoon beer have in common, besides both hailing from New England? They also make the ideal food and drink companions. The citrus and hoppy flavors of the IPA balance and smooth out the rich chocolate frosting and thick vanilla custard filling of the donut. A tart, lemon-filled donut is a great partner in crime for the IPA, too.
DOGFISH HEAD PUNKIN ALE WITH AN APPLE CIDER DONUT OR FRITTER
There’s no better way to celebrate the autumn season than with the two quintessential flavors of fall: pumpkin and apple. The nutmeg, cinnamon, pumpkin and brown sugar notes in Dogfish Head’s beloved Punkin Ale go perfectly with the sweet glaze on an apple fritter or a rich apple cider donut. Bonus if you can score a fresh, still-hot cider donut, which you can find aplenty this time of year at farmers markets or local orchards.
GUINNESS DRAUGHT STOUT WITH A CHOCOLATE FROSTED OR CHOCOLATE DONUT
This dry, mildly bitter stout is known to pair well with chocolate desserts because of its coffee notes and chocolatey flavor. Enter the chocolate donut. Go for a plain chocolate donut, a cake donut with chocolate frosting or cream filling, or indulge in a triple chocolate donut for complete chocolate nirvana.
BLUE MOON BELGIAN WHITE WITH A GLAZED DONUT
The citrus notes from the Valencia orange peel and coriander used to make this medium-bodied, easy-drinking wheat ale tone down the sweetness from the icing on a glazed donut. A lemon-filled donut pairs well with Belgian White, too, for an extra citrus punch. If you want to go for a citrusy trifecta, don’t forget to garnish the beer with the ever-popular orange slice.
ABITA STRAWBERRY LAGER WITH A JELLY-FILLED OR STRAWBERRY FROSTED DONUT
This light, refreshing and crisp lager, made with pilsner & wheat malts and juicy Louisiana strawberries, makes a great accompaniment to a jelly-filled donut or strawberry frosted donut (with sprinkles, of course!). Vanilla cream-filled or vanilla iced donuts are also another tasty combo (think strawberry shortcake).
JACK’S HARD CIDER WITH A PLAIN CAKE OR CINNAMON DONUT
For those who love a good old-fashioned, no-frills, simple donut, reach for a hard cider to wash it down. The subtle notes from crisp, fruity ciders lend some sweet notes to a plain or cinnamon sugar donut.
We’re not the only locals with donuts and beer on the brain – this past summer, craft beer bar Lucky’s Last Chance teamed up with Philly donut hotspot Beiler’s Doughnuts and held a donut and beer pairing of their own! The event was held on June 3rd (during Philly Beer Week) at both Lucky’s locations (Queen Village and Manayunk) and completely sold out.
Pink Himalayan Sea Salt Lime Gose with a key lime donut filled with homemade crème
Passion Fruit Orange Guava IPA with a vanilla iced donut garnished with orange zest
Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter with a chocolate-dipped peanut butter chocolate donut filled with peanut butter cream
Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout with a mocha donut with mocha filling
“Our guest feedback from the event was out-of-this-world good,” shared Chris Barnes, managing partner of Lucky’s Last Chance. “We started this about seven years ago with a cupcake and beer pairing and have been doing it the first Monday of Beer Week ever since. It has evolved over the years, but this was our first with donuts.”
As for his favorite? “The key lime donut pairing was my favorite, but I still dream about that orange zest donut.”
Anita Smith is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to writing for Draught Lines Magazine, she is also an executive editor of Chilled Magazine. Anita grew up in Delaware County and has a Communications degree from West Chester University. She currently lives in Norristown with her husband and three cats.