Comfort food is a staple of Sunday brunch, and there are few comestibles more comforting than donuts. Dating back to the oily cakes brought to the new world by Dutch settlers, today’s confections serve as a canvas for culinary artists to express themselves with outlandish flavors, fillings, toppings and textures. One need only look at the recent cronut craze to see the fervor with which Americans love their donuts.
While coffee has centuries of work as the donut’s compatriot, beer offers much more flexibility to play with the variety of flavors created by today’s donut shops. Craft beer’s versatility was on full display at Green Flash’s Cellar 3 facility on Sunday, as they partnered up with North Park’s Nomad Donuts for a “donut social.”
The menu for the event featured three very different donuts paired with offerings from the Cellar 3 portfolio of brews. First up was a tangerine and pear glazed donut that served as the perfect accompaniment to the sour funk of Divine Sauvage, which is a Belgian Tripel aged in red wine barrels with brettanomyces.
Next on the menu was a donut stuffed with fig jam, glazed with a cherry cream cheese and topped with cocoa nibs and graham crackers. To play with these bold flavors, there was no better brew than Barrelmaster Pat Korn’s creation for Cellar 3’s second anniversary, which was Lustrous Frumento with Luxardo cherries.
For the third act in this toothsome tasting, a beautiful s’more-inspired donut with a dark chocolate ganache and crowned with a show-stopping toasted spiced marshmallow. The beer pairing for this treat was Natura Morta Strawboyberry, which is a saison aged with strawberries and boysenberries in a red wine barrel with brettanomyces. Is there any better dessert pairing than strawberry and chocolate?
Will beer ever replace coffee as the donut’s companion beverage of choice? Probably not, but as long as bakers and brewers continue to push their stylistic boundaries, the pairing of crullers and cold ones can only gain popularity.