Fair warning: tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. But before you run like the apocalypse is on your heels to the nearest drugstore to get a dusty box of lord-knows-how-old chocolates, stop. Look to your left, then look to your right. Is there a beer store anywhere nearby? A brewery? (If not, just ask Siri how to get to one and play along when you’re there, okay?) Great. Turn in the right direction and let’s go.
Chocolate beers are everywhere—chocolate stouts, chocolate stouts on nitro, chocolate porters, and even chocolate coffee IPAs (we’re looking at you, Stone Brewing). But we wanted to take it a step further. So in honor of love being in the air, whether it’s love for another human or love for the beer in your hand, we came up with a six-pack of chocolate candy−flavored beers that will taste even better.
Nantahala Brewing Company Chocolate-Covered Cherry Stout (Bryson City, North Carolina) couldn’t be a more perfect beer if you’re in the mood for chocolate covered cherries. Our blind-tasting panel loved the cherry-cordial character, with the dark and milk chocolate notes. This beer is aged in bourbon barrels for more than a year, which gives it notes of oak and vanilla, and its 8 percent ABV lends a bit of pleasant warmth.
### Chocolate with Salted Caramel
Is your mouth watering yet? For some chocolate sweetness with a punch of mouth-watering salty caramel, reach for a bottle of Breakside Brewery Salted Caramel Stout (Portland, Oregon), which is a collaboration beer with Portland’s Salt & Straw Ice Cream. When this beer was tested by our blind-tasting panel, they loved the combination of chocolate, toast and malt, caramel, vanilla, and grilled peaches. The base beer is a sweet stout, which carries the smokiness and roastiness nicely, bringing balance to the contrasting flavors.
Chocolate with Hazelnut
For anybody who loves the taste of silky chocolaty hazelnutty Nutella, Rogue Ales & Spirits (Newport, Oregon) has fearlessly combined these attributes into a bottle of heavenly goodness. Hazelutely Choctabulous (there’s a spelling test later—better commit that to memory) is actually a combination of two of their fan favorites: Chocolate Stout and Hazelnut Brown Nectar. You get the nutty hazelnut hit at the front of the sip, with the rich chocolate truffle bringing up the back—if that doesn’t make you want to give up chocolate candy, I don’t know what will.
You’ll almost feel the crunch of toffee between your teeth with Deep Ellum’s Four Swords (Dallas, Texas), a quadrupel with rich notes of toffee and caramel, and fruity esters of raisin, cherry, plum, and fig. While the ABV is up around 9.5 percent, the beer highlights its strength well with some Belgian candi sweetness and a bit of warmth that complements the pepper phenolics.
Chocolate with Coconut
Aspen Brewing Company (Aspen, Colorado) teamed up with Breckenridge Distillery (Breckenridge, Colorado) to create Barrel Aged 10th Mountain, an imperial stout that’ll make you feel like you’ve bitten into a chocolate-covered coconut, followed by a sip of spicy bourbon. Our blind-tasting panel also noted some fruity esters of sherry, cherry, and raspberry, as well as some vanilla, almond, and oak character from the barrel. It’s sweet and smooth and—like a box of chocolates—is meant to be shared.
Anderson Valley Brewing Company teamed up with Wild Turkey Bourbon to create Bourbon Barrel Stout, which has notes of almond, chocolate, coffee, soft espresso, dark cherry, and vanilla. The oak character from the barrel is subtle and not at all overwhelming, so if you’re looking for more of a chocolate-candy flavor, this is perfect. It’s roasty and nutty while managing to be sweet and creamy, and our blind-tasting panel said it has just a hint of a chocolate milk quality to it.
Now that we’ve shared our six-pack of chocolate candy-flavored beers, let us know which ones you love, too!
Get more comprehensive features on beer styles, ingredients, and techniques, dozens of beer reviews, advice from world-class brewers, and tips for getting the most out of your brewing in every issue of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Subscribe today!
Podcast Episode 22: The Current State of Lager in the U.S. with Notch Brewing Founder/Brewer Chris Lohring
Chris Lohring of Notch sits down with John Holl to discuss lagers of all kinds, the importance of a comfortable tap room and ways brewers can face competition from each other and from the outside.
Bonn Place Brewing Mr. Harry’s Pig Tale Extra Pale Recipe
From Sam Masotto at Bonn Place Brewing, this isn't an IPA because it’s not fully English, but it is a nice hybrid, “strong,” hoppy pale ale! A blend of New World hops and English malt and yeast brewed in the traditional English style, single-infusion mash.
Podcast Episode 21: New Belgium's Wood Cellar Director & Blender Lauren Limbach
Jamie is joined by American sour beer pioneer Lauren Limbach of New Belgium Brewing, and they talk about the evolution of New Belgium’s sour beer program, from the earliest days two decades ago to the advances in analytics and technical process today.