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    Beer + doughnut = beernut?

    Blackbird Doughnuts’ cracked black pepper and grapefruit glazed vanilla cake doughnut.
    Anna Perna
    Blackbird Doughnuts’ cracked black pepper and grapefruit glazed vanilla cake doughnut.

    Who says you have to choose between another beer and dessert?

    Eight years ago, Jeff Wharton ran a beer and chocolate pairing event at the old Wine Gallery in Brookline. Expecting 50 people, he was overwhelmed by the 300 who showed up.

    Wharton, who runs a website called, turned the success of that night into a series of beer and chocolate charity events.


    “We did it for a few more years at the Taza factory [in Somerville],” says Wharton. “One year we had over 700 people come through. People waited for over two hours in the freezing cold and sleet to get in. So we knew the idea was a hit.”

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    This year, Wharton and crew are upping the dessert quotient for the first Boston Beer and Sweets Fest, taking place Nov. 4-5 at Space 57 at the Revere Hotel.

    In addition to Taza Chocolate, the fest will feature doughnuts from Blackbird Doughnuts, small-batch ice cream from Honeycomb Creamery, macarons from Miam Miam Macaronerie, and marshmallow s’mores from Sweet Lydias, as well as other offerings.

    The sweets will be paired with beverages from 20 New England brewers and cider makers, including Lost Nation Brewing, Peak Organic Brewing, and Far From the Tree Craft Hard Cider.

    “The right pairing can do wonders for something sweet,” says Wharton. “One of my favorites is to pair a Hefeweizen with Taza’s guajillo chile chocolate. The earthy heat from the guajillo is complemented perfectly by the spice-like notes in the beer. It’s not about the sweet anymore at that point, but the other flavors.”


    In one pairing made just for the festival, Samuel Adams brewer Megan Parisi teamed up with Blackbird Doughnuts head baker Anna Perna. After some back and forth, Perna is making a cracked black pepper and grapefruit-glazed vanilla cake doughnut to pair with a new Samuel Adams brew.

    “We ultimately decided that a super-fruity IPA — Blackbird IPA — would be the perfect match to pair with the doughnut,” says Parisi.

    Perna says she liked the challenge of pairing a doughnut and an IPA, which can traditionally be a little harder to match with food.

    “We had done some beer events,” says Perna. “They were winter so we kind of stuck with chocolaty flavors. We were really interested in doing something kind of off the beaten path.” Tickets for the Boston Beer and Sweets Fest are $55 and can be purchased at

    gary dzen

    Gary Dzen can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GaryDzen