Craft brewing is full of innovation and collaboration, most of it focused on the beer (obviously), but sometimes that creativity evolves into other forms, if for nothing else than a good marketing opportunity. An example of this is coming up from Vermont-based Long Trail Brewing, which has collaborated with Lake Champlain Chocolates (LCC) to come up with a limited edition chocolate bar for the local Burlington Discover Jazz Festival.
“After last year’s successful Boom Bam Bourbon Pecan Chocolate Experience Bar, we asked fellow sponsor Long Trail Brewing to collaborate with us on a flavor for this year’s bar,” said Catherine Wisloski, director of marketing for LCC. “We are continually inspired by the local food and beverage producers in Vermont and are always looking to combine ingredients in new ways to create something truly distinctive.”
The result is the Bebop Hop chocolate bar — a hop-infused, deep malty caramel covered in a silky blend of milk and dark chocolate. LCC’s research and development specialist Lauren Deitsch and Long Trail Brewmaster Dave Hartmann explain the process of using Long Trail’s raw ingredients for making beer to create a finished chocolate confection.
“While touring the LCC factory, we observed the caramelizing process,” Hartmann said. “And I thought it would be interesting to try caramelizing some concentrated malt extract, what we brewers call ‘wort,’ a house-made ingredient used in making our beers. … We concentrated the best part of the malt (the sweet extract) and the best part of the hops (the wonderful aromas) to create an intense burst of malty, hoppy, chocolaty deliciousness.”
By boiling down the malt extract into a syrup, it could be used as a sweetener in the caramel. Add in Cascade hops and the result is a chocolate bar with a heady aroma reminiscent of Long Trail beers.
“This was a true collaboration and the end product, with flavor notes of citrus fruit, grassy herbs and malted caramel, balanced with a sweet blend of chocolate, is incomparable,” Deitsch said.
All profits from the sale of each bar will benefit the FlynnArts “LCC Youth in Jazz Scholarship,” providing performing arts education for young musicians, as well as the FlynnArts Jazz programs. Priced at $4, the Bebop Hop bar is non-alcoholic and will be available for purchase from May 20 to June 9. It can be found at Lake Champlain Chocolates’ retail locations, online at www.lakechamplainchocolates.com and at the Long Trail Visitor Center in Bridgewater Corners, Vt.
“Like the style of music that inspired this creation, the Bebop Hop bar represents a harmonious fusion between the craft of creating amazing chocolates and the craft of brewing fine ales,” said Jed Nelson, director of brand marketing at Long Trail. “The flavor profile of this bar is extraordinary. LCC and Long Trail have really pushed the boundaries here and created something unique and full of flavor.”