Love is in the air….and so is beer.
If you are looking for a unique gift for your loved one for Valentines Day tomorrow, don’t overlook beer. The fact that beer pairs well with chocolate is no hidden fact these days, and finding a beer with chocolate in it isn’t too hard, either. If you stop by your favorite specialty beer retailer, they should be able to help you pick something appropriate out. I reached out to three experts from local bottle shops to find out what is available this year.
Erika Tedin of Full Throttle Bottles says that chocolate beers and Valentines Day-themed beers are great sellers this time of year. According to Erika, “A very popular one was the AleSmith My Bloody Valentine, but we sold out of that in a heart beat.” One of her current favorite pairings is the Samuel Smith’s Double Chocolate Stout paired with Lindemans Frambois. She is also a big fan of taking some of these chocolate beers and making a milk shake, float or brownies with them. Sounds okay to me. If you are a bitter lover looking to send a message, Erika says they have a beer from Southern Oregon Brewing called Black Heart, which might do the trick.
If you want to try that AleSmith My Bloody Valentine, Tiffany Adamowski of 99 Bottles in Federal Way says they still had some as of yesterday. She also notes that other available offerings perfect for the day include Alameda My Bloody Valentine, Stillwater Of Love & Regret, Kassik’s Chocolate Cherry Stout (from Alaska) and Ommegang Seduction.
There are many other options that most local bottle shops should have in stock. Southern Tier Choklat has become a very popular beer. One of my all-time favorite chocolate beers is the Rogue Chocolate Stout. Airways Brewing just released their new Chocolate Stout this week in 22oz bottles, and it will soon join the brewery’s year-round offering list. Big Time Brewery will also have a chocolate porter on Valentines Day, but that will likely be available on tap only.
At Beer Junction in West Seattle, they will have 4-6 taps devoted to chocolate beer this whole week for their Chocolate Beer Week. Their current beers on tap are Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break, Stone Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout, Southern Tier Choklat and Southern Tier Creme Brulee. Waiting in the wings are Airways Chocolate Stout, Sam Adams Chocolate Chili Bock, Sam Adams Chocolate Cherry Bock and Widmer Chocolate Russian Imperial Stout. Owner Morgan Herzog says, “We’re pairing this all up with Husky Deli ice cream as well! If you do a sampler tray of chocolate beers you get a complimentary scoop of ice cream or assorted chocolates. We can also make up a beer milk shake with your choice of chocolate beer and either Husky Deli vanilla bean or chocolate ice cream.” Beer Junction will also be hosting a Sam Adams tasting night on Thursday featuring the 2 chocolate beers mentioned above and 4 other beers from them, including the New Albion Pale Ale. They also have a wide selection of chocolate beers available in bottles.
In addition to chocolate and beer combinations, many other styles work well for the occasion. Saisons and sours are two styles that pair well with food and could bring another dimension to your Valentines Day dinner. In addition, strong ales and stouts are a great way to finish off a meal. Or, if you are like my wife, a good ol’ NW IPA might be the perfect thing to sip on before dinner.
If you are a local brewery/retailer with some special chocolate beers this week, feel free to leave a message and let readers know what is up.
Cheers and happy Valentines Day to everyone.