Nick Carr on February 10, 2016 2 Comments Ah Valentine’s Day, that time of teddy bears and flower bouquets, of chocolate hearts and candle lit dinners, of whimsical love and starry eyed romance. Whether you choose to recognize Valentine’s Day or seek a lone rebellion against this couples-strewn day with all its gooey romance and its flirtation games there’s no reason to keep your love of craft beer out of the picture. Match that candle lit dinner you’re preparing to something beside wine, or settle down to a decedent dessert paired perfectly with the chocolaty breezes of a stout or porter, or buy a beer bouquet to match the flower bouquet. 1. The Love from Starr Hill Brewing Location: Crozet, VA For those wanting to keep the day light, share “The Love” this Valentine’s Day. This simple wheat beer shines with wonderful notes of clove and banana against low tart tones and loving sighs of cracker-like malt. It’s smooth creamy love for the palate. Brewer’s Description: “The Love is an unfiltered wheat beer, also known as a hefeweizen. It is distinguished by its extremely light body and fruity aroma, finished with spicy notes.” Learn more from the brewer. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: German Hefeweizen ABV: 5.1% IBU: 9 Hops: Hallertau Malts: Two-row, Wheat, Munich Serving Temp: 40-45°F Serving Glass: Weizen glass Food Pairings: Lobster and Avocado Salad, Chévre, Banana Pudding Availability: Year Round 2. I Love You With All My Stout from Evil Twin Brewing Company Location: Brooklyn, NY Show how deep and dark and pure your love is. Nothing can do it better than this rich, smooth, incredibly dark stout. Robust notes of molasses, figs, coffee, roast, and chocolate will assail and warm, surround and comfort… just like your love. Brewer’s Description: “When I copied the famous Even More Jesus, I had to ask myself as an artist, why am I doing this? I didn’t honestly know. It was just an instinct about beer as pure form… in a sense this stout is like a metaphor for freedom – the sum of all the beauty that surrounds me and my perfect contemporary existence.” Learn more from the brewer. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: Imperial Stout ABV: 12.0% IBU: ? Hops: ? Malts: ? Serving Temp: 50-57°F Serving Glass: Snifter Food Pairings: Smoked Pork, Aged Gouda, Chocolate Cheesecake Availability: Year Round 3. Sexual Chocolate from Foothills Brewing Company Location: Winston-Salem, NC Just think, arriving at the appointed time for your Valentine’s date and being able to say “I brought the sexual chocolate,” and then before anything can be misconstrued, holding up a bottle of stout in all its imperial beauty. It’ll pair great with that bow wrapped heart of chocolates, that New York top sirloin, or that triple chocolate cake. Brewer’s Description: “A cocoa infused Imperial Stout. Opaque black in color with a dark brown head. Big chocolate aroma with notes of espresso, blackstrap molasses, dark sweet toffee and dark fruit. Smooth dark chocolate backbone with complex notes of coffee, dark toffee and dark fruit.” Learn more from the brewer. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: American Double/Imperial Stout ABV: 9.75% IBU: 85 Hops: ? Malts: ? Serving Temp: 50-57°F Serving Glass: Snifter Food Pairings: Steak with a Cream Sauce, Smoked Blue Cheese, Chocolate Créme Brulee Availability: February 4. Fourplay IPA from Stoudts Brewing Company Location: Adamstown, PA This is an IPA for romance. Inside the bottle, hop Apollo has found a new love in a mysterious strange companion. A romance has bloomed, a dance begun. Drink of the abundant passion and find subtle pairings of resin and coconut, citrus and chocolate. Brewer’s Description: “Our Fourplay IPA started as a four part single hop series and featured the same malt recipe in each providing a full bodied malt backbone to compliment the abundance of a hop flavor. This new year-round version uses the same recipe, but two hop varieties instead of one.” Learn more from the brewer. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: American IPA ABV: 6.0% IBU: 60 Hops: Apollo, Experimental Hop 06300 Malts: ? Serving Temp: 46-50°F Serving Glass: Pint or IPA Glass Food Pairings: Steak with a Cream Sauce, Smoked Blue Cheese, Chocolate Créme Brulee Availability: February 5. Bitter Valentine from Alewerks Brewing Company Location: Williamsburg, VA Here’s a raised glass to the lonely, the bitter, those that spurn Valentines for all its lovey, dovey nonsense … or maybe you just like your beer bitter. Either way this Double IPA will help you weather cupid’s arrow storm. Pairs perfectly with an entire box of dark chocolates. Brewer’s Description: “Our Double IPA is loaded with Pacific Northwest hops blended with a light malt backbone. A bitter Valentine for you to love, how ever unrequited”. Learn more from the brewer. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: American Double/Imperial IPA ABV: 9.0% IBU: ? Hops: ? Malts: Pale, Crystal malts Serving Temp: 46-50°F Serving Glass: IPA Glass Food Pairings: Spicy Chicken Wings, A Block of Pepper Jack, Strawberry Cream Pie Availability: Rotating 6. Smitten by Bell’s Brewing Company Location: Kalamazoo, MI Do you remember the first time you were infatuated, stricken with yearning….smitten with love? Every moment with that person was warm, bright, filled with butterfly excitement; like flourishing springtime. Remember it again. Share in the excitement again. Brewer’s Description: “Drawn from one of our oldest recipes, Smitten Ale began as part of a series of rye beers at our Eccentric Café. The combination of sharp citrus & resinous flavors from the hops with the earthy, rustic overtones of the rye malt contribution yield an interesting take on the American Pale Ale.” Learn more from the brewer. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: Rye Pale Ale ABV: 6.0% IBU: ? Hops: ? Malts: ? Serving Temp: 46-50°F Serving Glass: Tulip Food Pairings: Barbeque, Mild Cheddar, Lemon Squares Availability: Spring Seasonal 7. Chocolate Shake Porter from Boulder Brewing Company Location: Boulder, CO If you and your date would rather drink your chocolate than eat it, this is the beer for you. It will also work just fine as a tag-along to… well, chocolate; chocolate cake, hearts, truffles. You might even try a Chocolate Shake Porter float… with two straws, obviously. Brewer’s Description: “Our twist on the traditional robust American Porter, Shake Chocolate Porter is dark black in color with rich, sweet aromatics and flavors of dark chocolate, coffee and caramel. This unique brew blends five different grains, including Chocolate Wheat, that along with cacao nibs create a devilishly delicious chocolate finish with a velvety mouthfeel.” Learn more from the brewer. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: American Porter ABV: 5.9% IBU: 39 Hops: Nugget, Tettnang Malts: Pale, Munich, Caramel Malt, Chocolate Malt, Chocolate Wheat, Black Malt Serving Temp: 50-57°F Serving Glass: Mug Food Pairings: Beef Short Ribs, Colby Cheese, Raspberry Chocolate Cake Availability: Limited / Brewed Once 8. Avatar Jasmine IPA from Elysian Brewing Company Location: Seattle, WA Bring a different sort of flower bouquet to your date this year. A six-pack bouquet of Jasmine IPA has got to go over pretty well, even for those purists’ of Valentine tradition. Hopefully…well, maybe bring the flowers too just in case. But come on, the sweet scent of jasmine, combined with hops, wafting off the top of a freshly poured glass. Who’s gonna resist that? Brewer’s Description: “Pours golden copper with a lively head. Avatar has a very floral nose while the taste is an elegant balance allowing the subtle flavor of jasmine to prevail while still delivering the I.P.A.’s essential hoppiness.” Learn more from the brewer. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: American IPA ABV: 6.3% IBU: 43 Hops: German Northern Brewer, Glacier, Amarillo Malts: Pale, 45° Crystal, Munich, Cara-hell Serving Temp: 46-50°F Serving Glass: Tulip or IPA glass Food Pairings: Spicy Tai Curry, Mild Blue Cheese, Ginger Truffles Availability: Year Round 9. Serendipity from New Glarus Brewing Company Location: New Glarus, WI Serendipity is defined as “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy and beneficial way.” How many times has love found itself and blossomed out of events of happenstance? Love is serendipity. Celebrate it. Brewer’s Description: “Severe Drought, we shared the farmer’s horror as Wisconsin’s cherry crop failed! Dan bought what cherries he could. The Apple crop fared better. Then joy! A grand Wisconsin cranberry harvest. What will Dan brew with Apples, Cranberries and Cherries? Oh my! You hold the happy accident of Wisconsin’s favorite fruit aged in oak with an almost magical wild fermentation. Serendipity is a wondrous celebration that sparkles your senses and dances across your palate. A kaleidoscope of flavor discovered by accident in a sour ale!” Learn more from the brewer. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: Sour Ale w/ Fruit ABV: 4.0% IBU: ? Hops: ? Malts: ? Serving Temp: 50°F Serving Glass: Tulip or Flute Food Pairings: Braised Partridge, Petit Frere, French Vanilla Ice Cream Availability: Year Round 10. My Bloody Valentine from Alesmith Brewing Company Location: San Diego, CA Another for those feeling the need to spend Valentine’s alone. The brewer’s description pretty much covers it…. Enjoy the subtle nuances, shy smiles, round sweetness, and robust bouquet of this beautiful amber. Brewer’s Description: “Don’t spend this Single Awareness Day alone – grab a beer! This red-blooded cousin of Evil Dead Red Ale, our Halloween Brew, is a beautiful crimson color. Notes of caramel, toast, and bittersweet chocolate balance an intense bouquet of floral hop aromas that we know you’ll fall in love with. The finish leaves a pleasant, full-bodied sweetness on the palate that won’t spread angry rumors about you to all your friends like that one time when I was… ohh… uhh… Happy Valentine’s Day!” Learn more from the brewer. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: American Amber ABV: 6.66% IBU: 24 Hops: ? Malts: ? Serving Temp: 46-48°F Serving Glass: Tulip Pairings: Jilted Lovers, Reservations for One, Your Favorite EMO Album Availability: January – February 11. Teddy Bear Kisses from Upland Brewing Company Location: Bloomington, IN With a name like Teddy Bear Kisses how could you not include this in your Valentine celebrations? It’s only made once a year in September, so if you’ve missed it you’ll have to start planning earlier for next year. But it’d be well-worth the extra lengths to be able to present such a perfectly Valentine-esque gift. Don’t you think? Brewer’s Description: “A dark and robust beer brewed in the traditional stout method. Teddy Bear Kisses features an abundance of dark malts and high alpha hops for a powerful impact of roast, chocolate, and sweet bitterness. The lucky few who cuddle up to a warming session with Teddy Bear Kisses, can sense the velvety malt character, balanced bitter intensity, and soothing chocolate notes created by long aging on fair trade cocoa nibs. Teddy Bear Kisses will make you feel warm and happy inside, but it’s definitely not your childhood cuddle toy.” Learn more from the brewer. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: American Double/Imperial Stout ABV: 10% IBU: 80 Hops: ? Malts: ? Serving Temp: 50-55°F Serving Glass: Snifter Food Pairings: Fire Grilled Steaks, Espresso Rubbed Cheddar, Mocha Cheesecake Availability: Rotating 12. Cazeau Saison from Brasserie De Cazeau Location: Templeuve, Belgium Brewed only once a year, you’ll have to plan a year ahead to make this part of your Valentine celebrations. Fresh and playful, this little seasonal saison brings whispers of spring in all its newness; new warmth, new growth, new love. Treat your date to the fresh and spirited flavors of elderflowers in the farmhouse, a botanically sensual saison of liquid love. Brewer’s Description: “We wanted to offer a truly seasonal Saison with production limited in time. As Laurent Agache’s parents had created a cottage-type aperitif based on fresh elder tree flowers, greatly appreciated for family festivities, we have tried to use that flower for producing our Saison. The elder flower, combined with the Sterling hop, was wonderful right from the first tests: the bitterness of the hops underlined by the flower brought a new and really nice freshness.” Learn more from the brewer. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: Saison ABV: 5.0% IBU: 32 Hops: Northern Brewer, Fuggles, Sterling Malts: ? Serving Temp: 42°F Serving Glass: Tulip or Flute Food Pairings: Lemon Pepper Chicken Caesar Salad, Chévre, Lemon Bars Availability: Brewed once a year between May and June 13. Castaway from Thomas Creek Brewing Company Location: Greenville, SC Take a trip this Valentine’s Day, just you and your Love. Spend an evening castaway from the cares and troubles of life. Find that special memory, that dreamed-for trip, and spend some time exploring and adventuring together in the enticing yet strange call of this chocolate orange IPA. Brewer’s Description: “Don’t let the name scare you. This hybrid IPA’s bitterness blends with the subtle dark chocolate flavors provided by cocoa nibs and chocolate malts. It is then enhanced by bitter orange peel additions and a dry hopping of Citra”. Learn more from the brewer. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: American IPA ABV: 7.5% IBU: 100 Hops: Citra, Centennial, Cascade, Magnum, Chinook, Amarillo Malts: Chocolate Wheat, Honey Malt, 2-row, Black Patent Serving Temp: 46-50°F Serving Glass: Tulip or IPA glass Food Pairings: Grilled Chicken, Sharp Cheddar, Orange Laced Dark Chocolate Availability: Year Round 14. Strawberry Shortcake from Cigar City Brewing Company Location: Tampa, FL Who doesn’t like strawberries on Valentine’s? And now you can get them in liquid form. A romp in the sweet deliciousness of a strawberry patch is bound to get you off on the right foot. And hey, what else are you gonna pair with a thick slice of strawberry shortcake in romantic candlelight? Brewer’s Description: “This beer tastes a lot like Strawberry Shortcake, which is a good thing considering its name. Released every year in celebration of the Florida Strawberry Festival.” Learn more from the brewer. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: Fruit Lager ABV: 5.0% IBU: ? Hops: ? Malts: ? Serving Temp: 50°F Serving Glass: Flute, Pilsner, Stange Food Pairings: Green Salad Topped With Strawberries, Mild Mozzarella, Strawberry shortcake Availability: Limited Release in February 15. Lovely, Dark, & Deep from Ommegang Brewing Company Location: Copperstown, NY Ah, those eyes that have captivated you for so long. Lovely, dark, and deep; like looking into the watery depths of the ocean in the last casting light of the sun. What do you see there? Beauty, mystery, wisdom… love. Brewer’s Description: “Lovely, Dark and Deep pours deep black with a tan, creamy mousse-like head. Aromas of roasted malt and coffee with cream, coupled with subtle notes of chocolate and dark fruit from Ommegang’s house yeast prevail. Flavors of rich chocolate milk, and coffee and cream are impeccably balanced with restrained sweetness and hints of roastiness. The finish is silky smooth with a medium to full body.” Learn more from the brewer. Characteristics & Tasting Expectations: Style: Oatmeal Stout ABV: 5.3% IBU: ? Hops: Bravo, Styrian Golding Malts: Midnight Wheat, Flaked Oats, Chocolate malt Serving Temp: 50-55°F Serving Glass: Mug Food Pairings: Pumpernickel Bread and Cold Meats, Aged Cheddar, Caramelized Chestnuts Availability: Winter Seasonal There you go, a list for those seeking to match a love of craft beer with Valentine’s Day. Hopefully this list gives you a few idea’s for whatever celebrations — or lack there of — you choose to partake in. Cheers!