It’s the most wonderful time of the year — Girl Scout cookie season.
Always a treat on their own, something to sip on can take the flavors of these delicacies to the next level. We chatted with Dominic Fiore, sommelier extraordinaire at Bar Marco, and a bunch of local brewers for their expert advice on what Pennsylvania-made flavors will complement your Girl Scout cookie(s) of choice.
If you’re a beer drinker, we’ve got a peanut-butter-and-jelly concoction lined up. For wine aficionados, we recommend something to make that Samoa even more tropical. And for liquor drinkers, we’ve got a whiskey-s’more combo that’s gonna make you want s’more.
If you still need to buy some cookies, don’t worry — there are dozens of Girl Scout cookie booth sales coming up, and you can enter your ZIP code to find a booth sale in your neighborhood.
And if you need some booze for these pairings, track down the wineries and breweries linked below and try Pennsylvania Libations in the Strip District for spirits.
Tear open a sleeve of cookies, pop open a bottle and dig in.
- Allegheny City Brewing, “The Zoomies” coffee-infused brown ale
- Allegheny City Brewing, Bighorn barrel-aged brown ale
- Cinderlands Beer Co., Midnight Ramble milk stout
This crunchy oatmeal sandwich cookie with creamy peanut butter filling is such an icon, it deserves some options.
First up: The Zoomies.
“Dosidos are a Girl Scout cookie tradition, and who doesn’t like a cup of coffee with their peanut buttery cookie?” said Al Grasso of Allegheny City Brewing in Deutschtown. “The coffee is from our friends at Grounds-and-Hounds, and the rich, bold coffee flavor is front and center.”
Option two, the barrel-aged brown ale, is for the bold beer drinker: “For the more adventurous and looking for a little nightcap with their Dosidos, our Bighorn would fit the bill,” Grasso said. “It’s aged for eight months in Wyoming Whiskey barrels. The whiskey and oak really come through, and it’s a great dessert beer to go with your cookie.”
And one more choice in the milk stout: “The berry flavors from the beer will create a peanut butter and jelly sort of flavor in your mouth, with a hint of chocolate at the end to add some sweetness and bitter notes,” said Joanna Warden, spokeswoman for Cinderlands Beer Co., Lawrenceville’s newest brewery. “It’s a big, jammy, chocolatey stout with the essence of berries.”
Midnight Ramble checks in at 8.7% with hints of raspberry, blackberry and vanilla.
When it comes to the caramelly, coconut-heavy samoa, you either love it or hate it. If you do in fact love it, enhance the flavors with the bright, nutty flavors in the Tallyrand Cream Bourbon from Bellefonte, Pa.
If bourbon isn’t your speed, Fiore suggests grabbing a glass of Erie-grape Traminette from R Wine Cellar in the Strip District. Its tropical notes, like mango and kiwi, will enhance the coconut for a little taste of the tropics.
- Roundabout Brewery, Maui Wit
The wedge-shaped Savannah Smiles pack plenty of lemon flavor under a powdered sugar coating — which would certainly pair well with a pale ale or IPA. Penn Brewery’s Weizen would also be a fantastic match.
But Roundabout’s Belgian wheat beer is the go-to for its smooth drinkability and notes of orange peel, coriander, ginger and star anise that play nicely off the lemon. Also, you really can’t go wrong with anything from Lawrenceville’s Roundabout, so…
Like the campfire classic, this sandwich cookie pairs creamy chocolate with marshmallowy filling.
“Chocolate and coffee are also a match made in heaven,” Fiore says. Preach.
S’mores are a natural pairing with a coffee-flavored Thistle Finch whiskey from Lancaster. If you’re looking for a wine, the Zinfandel made of California grapes at Engine House 25 in Lawrenceville boasts chocolatey notes and a little sweetness to boot.
- East End Brewery, “Faster than the Bear” Baltic porter
This crispy cookie is packed with peanut butter and covered with a chocolaty coating.
“The chocolaty malt profile matches up nicely with the chocolate and the peanut butter in the cookie,” Larimer’s East End founder Scott Smith said. “And the beer finishes dry, allowing for full cookie sweetness enjoyment. … We actually inhaled a box of these at a 9 a.m. meeting at the brewery on Monday, but for some reason we didn’t think to pour any beers to go with it. What was I thinking?”
Now you know how to be prepared for this Monday’s meeting, Scott.
Also, can we join these 9 a.m. cookie-and-beer-meetings please?
- 11th Hour Brewing, Ukrainian imperial stout on nitro
Ah, the beloved Thin Mint — chocolaty, minty and addicting.
“The beer and chocolate together may seem heavy for some people but I’d like to think those two together would be like biting into a Death by Chocolate piece of cake,” said Keana McMahon, co-owner of 11th Hour Brewing in Lawrenceville. “The head on our nitro is so thick and creamy I would dip a few of those cookies right into it and gain five pounds in 30 minutes.”
McMahon also checked with her husband, Matt, 11th Hour’s head brewer. He agreed with the pairing suggestion — “and this is a man who buys a case of Samoas every year and hides them in the basement freezer from his whole family,” she added.
The classic shortbread Trefoil might not be as exciting as some of the other cookies, but when paired with the right beverage, the flavors really pop.
In the Pittsburgh-made Bliss 1895 Spiced Rum, vanilla and cinnamon shine through. For wine drinkers, Fiore recommends Pittsburgh Winery’s Chardonnay, made with California grapes, and bursting with vanilla and caramel flavors.
- Church Brew Works, “Pious Monk” dunkel
This has long been Lawrenceville’s Church Brew Works’ best beer — it even won a silver medal at the 2012 Great America Beer Festival. Pious Monk is a dark lager traditionally brewed in Munich. It has a light body, a subtle sweetness that reminds one of molasses, and a roasty aroma.
Add a rich, buttery Toffee-tastic, and watch the monk’s smile grow ever larger.