Why do English and toffee go together like Irish and stew? Belgian and waffles? French and fries? (Er, wait, let’s skip that last one.) What’s so freakin’ special about the English and their toffee? Peaks and Pints searched for an answer. Toffee in and of itself isn’t particularly complicated. It’s basically white sugar (or sometimes molasses) with butter and/or salt heated to the point of caramelization. Once the mixture reaches around 300 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s rapidly removed from the heat and poured onto a surface, at which point it cools and hardens (its malleability depends on length of cooling and ingredient proportions). The most plausible explanation we came across for how toffee became associated with the Brits relates to the availability of cheap sugar in the 19th century. Thanks to the Crown’s prolific (and seemingly shameless) use of slave labor in its Caribbean colonies, sugarcane was cultivated and harvested at an impressive and inexpensive rate. Back home in jolly old imperialist England, treacle and sugar thus become very affordable for the masses, who then proceeded to satisfy their sweet tooths by developing candy, the most popular of which was toffee. The development of English toffee isn’t a particularly sweet story, but it does make for a sweet beer flight. Stop by Peaks & Pints today for an in-house flight of beers with toffee notes — a flight we’re calling Peaks and Pints Beer Flight: Toffee.
Peaks and Pints Beer Flight: Toffee
5% ABV, can
Brewed with Paws For A Beer, Kulshan Brewing’s Bark in the Dark is a delicious and easy drinking German dark lager. Though quite dark in color, it is deceptively dry and quaffable, with delightful notes of roasted barley, toasted nuts, and subtle coffee and toffee accents.
5.1% ABV, can
Living Haus’ German-style dark lager has a simple blend of pilsner and Munich malts with light touches of roasted malts that result in a deceptively complex blend of flavors sure to please schwarzbier fans. Expect notes of mulling spices and hazelnut in the nose complemented by toffee and baker’s chocolate flavors.
6.7% ABV, bottle
During Lent, as legend goes, German monks sustained themselves by sipping strong, dark lagers dubbed doppelbocks. This timeworn tale of liquid bread tends to overshadow an indisputable truth: dopplebocks are fantastic feats of brewing engineering, no more so than Ayinger Celebrator. With accolades from the late Michael Jackson and a collection of gold medals from the World Beer Cup, this rich, toffee-rocked lager is dark, crisp, with a touch of chocolate and grape notes. While presenting a full body, it’s not cloyingly sweet and features a wonderfully creamy body and enough alcohol to warm your palate.
7.8% ABV, can
E9 Brewing‘s traditional German-style doppelbock lager is aged in a mix of Woodford Reserve, Widow Jane, and Sazarac Buffalo Trace barrels for classic bready malt character with hints of dried fruit and toffee matched with an underlying bourbon backbone.
14% ABV, draft – bottle in cooler
Pelican Brewing‘s Mother of All Storms was originally released back in 2008 under the name “The Perfect Storm” but due to a copyright issue they changed the name to Mother of All Storms in 2010. Oh, mother, either way it’s a fitting name for this Kentucky bourbon barrel-aged beast. The 14 percent ABV English-style barleywine surges with Golden Promise, Munich, Melanoidin and Caramel malts as well as Magnum, Glacier, and Mount Hood hops. The beer then spends several months aging in Kentucky bourbon barrels before being bottled and kegged. The Storm opens with a straight on bourbon slapped in the face before hints of dark fruits, toffee, and oak start to appear. The bourbon returns on the tongue before other flavors begin to emerge toasted malt, bourbon, vanilla, toffee, and caramel with a smooth oak finish.