Nothing says February like chocolate. Every grocery store, drug store and big-box retailer has piled the aisles with Valentine’s Day chocolates of all shapes and sizes, and countless restaurants are pulling out their chocolate-themed menu items. In other words, it’s the perfect time to take a look at some great chocolate beers you can share with your sweetie. (Or, alternatively, just guzzle by yourself.)
Double Chocolate Milk Stout
Though you could add chocolate to any kind of brew, the majority of chocolate beers out there are stouts – makes sense, as the roasty flavors of the dark malts already evoke the taste of chocolate. There are tons of choices, but let’s start local – with Lancaster Brewing Co.’s Double Chocolate Milk Stout. It’s a seasonal variation on their already-excellent Milk Stout, with a heaping dose of cocoa added to the mix. It’s smooth, rich and sweet in all the right ways – and for my money, it’s among the best chocolate stouts around.
I’ll Have What She’s Having
Of course, if you’d like to add some other flavors to your chocolate beer, you have plenty of options there, too. Peanut butter, mint, coffee, pumpkin – it’s a long list. I’ll recommend hazelnut – specifically, I’ll Have What She’s Having, by Chester County-based Evil Genius. This is a chocolate hazelnut imperial stout, and it’s got the deep richness you’d expect from the ingredient list, as well as the boozy wallop that comes with 9.4 percent ABV. The flavors here are huge, but – surprisingly – not too sweet.
Finally, how about some spice with your chocolate? If you’re willing to hunt a little bit, see if you can find Chocolate Sombrero, from Boston’s Clown Shoes. It’s a year-round chocolate imperial stout made with ancho chiles, and it’s fantastic. Unlike most pepper beers I’ve tried, the peppers aren’t overpowering. This is a very drinkable stout, even at 9 percent, and there’s even hints of vanilla and cinnamon in the mix, which nicely complement the chocolate. Sweet and spicy – sounds perfect for Valentine’s Day.