Chocolate has long been a traditional Valentine’s gift—one that’s designed to incite passion and inflame the heart of a loved one. Yet those paper boxes of chocolate-covered nougats are so cliché, and let’s admit it, not a particularly creative gift.
Luckily for us craft beer lovers, there are many delicious and unique chocolate beers being crafted by U.S. breweries—just in time for the national day of romance.
After all, both chocolate and beer are possible aphrodisiacs. A few of the compounds found in chocolate are the same as those produced when you’re happy and euphoric. Beer is relaxing, and when enjoyed in moderation, increases desire and reduces inhibitions—don’t forget that too much alcohol can have the opposite effect. Do pay attention to ABVs, as we want the special night’s beer to be performance enhancing, not performance impairing!
If you’re single, newly single or just not in the mood to hear me wax poetic about chocolate-infused beers, don’t worry, I have some recommendations for you as well. Just skip over the “love” beers and go straight to the end of the article.
As a professional beer drinker and chocoholic, I can’t think of many nectars more appealing than chocolate beer, and here are some of my decadent craft beer “love” recommendations:
Sexual Chocolate | Foothills Brewing Co. | Winston-Salem, N.C. | 9.25% ABV
This rich, cocoa-infused imperial stout has been released annually just before Valentine’s Day since 2006. It sells out quickly, and don’t we all want to say, “Baby, I brought the Sexual Chocolate?” This liquid chocolate brew is practically guaranteed to induce friskiness.
|Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout | Odell Brewing Co. | Fort Collins, CO | 8.5% ABVNamed after the truck owned by Lugene, the farmer who’s been feeding his dairy cows the brewery’s spent grain for over a decade, Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout is brewed with milk sugar and milk chocolate.|
|Imperial Choklat Stout | Southern Tier Brewing Co. | Lakewood, N.Y. | 11% ABVThis lovely stout is made with bittersweet Belgian chocolate and packs an intense chocolate kick. Be sure to quaff this one slowly, and notice how the flavors develop as the beer warms.||Chocolate Stout | Pisgah Brewing Co. | Black Mountain, N.C. | 6% ABVThis beer is aged on cocoa nibs for a number of weeks. The beans hail from the La Red Guaconejo cooperative in the Dominican Republic and are hand-sorted, roasted and cracked by the head chocolate maker at the nearby French Broad Chocolate Lounge in Asheville, N.C.|
|Chocolate Stout | The Fort Collins Brewery | Fort Collins, Colo. | 5.3% ABVThis seductively smooth stout has lipstick imprints on the label—just make sure you’re not wearing any while you’re drinking it—lipstick kills a beer’s head.||Down ‘n Dirty Chocolate Oatmeal Stout | Tyranena Brewing Co. | Lake Mills, Wis. | 6.3% ABVWow, the sex jokes just write themselves with these beers. In truth, this thick, oaty stout is named in honor of a train that careened off of a treacherous railroad bridge and became mired in the mud forever. But you don’t have to tell your lover that.|
|Theobroma | Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales | Milton, De. | 9% ABVThe name of this beer translates to “food of the gods,” and is based on a recipe found on pottery fragments in Honduras, Mexico. If you want a love that lasts forever, this is a good gift choice. Although lighter in color than you’d expect from a chocolate beer, it packs a punch.||Slumbrew Porter Square Porter | Somerville Brewing Co. | Somerville, Mass. | 6.5% ABVThis rich porter is brewed with cocoa powder and conditioned on nibs from Taza Chocolate. Yum!|
If you’re single or newly single on Valentine’s Day, I recommend quaffing one of these great brews:
Alimony Ale IPA | Buffalo Bill’s Brewery | Hayward, Calif. | 6.8% ABV
While this beer is no longer the bitterest beer in America, it’s still billed as “irreconcilably different.” Alimony never tasted so sweet!
Raging Bitch | Flying Dog Brewing Co. | Fredrick, Md. | 8.3% ABV
This Belgian-style IPA is a perfect post-breakup beer regardless of your gender.
Total Domination IPA | Ninkasi Brewing Co. | Eugene, Ore. | 6.7% ABV
Just relax and let the intense hop flavors of this beer dominate your senses. Thank Ninkasi (the Sumerian Goddess of beer and the brewery’s namesake) for this tasty treat.
Polygamy Porter | Wasatch Brew Pub & Brewing | Park City, Utah | 4% ABV
While it may be illegal to be married to more than one person at a time, it’s completely legal to enjoy more than one beer at a time.
Damnation | Russian River Brewing Co. | Santa Rosa, Calif. | 7% ABV
This strong golden ale may just make you forget the seven levels of hell your ex put you through.
Anne Fitten Glenn, author of Asheville Beer: An Intoxicating History of Mountain Brewing has been writing about beer and the beer business since 2005, although she’s been drinking beer for a lot longer. She writes the “Brews News” for Asheville, N.C.’s newsweekly and frequent articles for CraftBeer.com. She also teaches Beer 101 Education classes to servers and the beer-loving public. She lives within walking distance of several of Asheville’s breweries. Find her talking about beer online under the nom de plume “Brewgasm.”