Beer and dessert – the idea is catching on with restaurateurs and beer lovers alike. When you think about it, it really makes sense. There are a lot of beers that are practically desserts all on their own: Framboise, Chocolate Stout, Pumpkin Ale, etc.
Pastry chef Will Fausser of Fuego restaurant at La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa, A RockResort is a strong believer of beer’s place on the dessert menu and even in the desserts themselves. I interviewed Will and he shared his recipe for a Framboise lambic float which he describes as sublime.
For cooking and pairing, Will prefers Belgian beer styles. He says that their complexity, depth and uniqueness make them some of the best beers for pairing with food. As for drinking beer, Will is particularly fond of the beers of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.
I tried to get Will to admit that for pairing and cooking, beer is superior to wine but he wouldn’t go there. “I really couldn’t make a choice between beer or wine because I really love wine,” he told me. “There could probably be both a great beer AND great wine for any given dish.”
I suppose he can be forgiven. He was trained as a chef at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, Le Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale, Arizona with further training under a pastry chef from southern France. Beer wasn’t emphasized in his training. Instead he picked up a passion for beer’s pastry potential while working in Seattle. He worked at a lodge there with a food and beverage director from Belgium. These days, he recommends pairing abbey ales with heavy desserts such as chocolate cake or anything with dried fruit. In the hot summer months he suggests cool fruit dishes with lambic beers.
When choosing specific pairings, Will likes to start with the beer and work from there. Some beers just cry out for a particular food, he told me. For example, the first time he had Three Philosophers from Ommegang he knew that it had to be served with Black Forest Cake. Not all beers cry out to Will; many demand to stand alone.
I don’t know about you but I’m inspired. There’s a Pêche Lambic from Lindemans that I can always count on my local beer store to have in stock. I think I’ll have to try it in an ice cream float.