• Dining

Chocolate Treats

Happy Valentine’s Day


February 8, 2018
By Jeff Gredlein | The Beer Snob

Of the few traditions associated with Valentine’s Day, chocolate may be the most delicious. The sweet, dark goodness of this sinful delight has been touted as an aphrodisiac and is a stimulant. Often when discussions of alcohol wander to chocolate, the prevailing wisdom is that the perfect pair is red wine. However, certain reds can overpower the sweet stuff, and in many of my own attempts, the two don’t always mix well. However, beer and chocolate can pair wonderfully. An even better option is a beer brewed with chocolate. Now that sounds like a perfect Valentine dessert.

Unlike many porters and stouts that claim an aspect of ‘chocolate’ flavor due to the use of highly roasted chocolate malts, several brewers incorporate actual chocolate, cocoa, or a related ingredient into their brewing, and the overwhelming choice for this addition is stout ale. Stout is an ideal vessel for chocolate, as most stouts have characteristics of the dark treat already in their flavor profile.

Young’s & Co. brewery in London offers what is considered by many to be the standard chocolate dark ale: Double Chocolate Stout. This beer falls into the sweet stout category, and is the least aggressive of the beers to follow. At 5.2 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), Young’s stout lets the milk and dark chocolate come through in a smooth fashion at or just below room temperature.

Rogue Ales in Newport, Oregon offers Chocolate Stout, which proves to be a beer/chocolate lovers dream. This American stout has real chocolate blended into the mixture. One of the most chocolate tasting of the bunch, there is also the ever-present west coast hop flavors that run underneath the sweetness. Think of this one as a spicy, dark cocoa drink, 6  percent alcohol by volume (ABV).

If you want your chocolate beer to be over the top, try Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout. This New York beer is a Russian Imperial Stout with strength and complexity, checking in at 10.6 percent ABV. Bittersweet dark chocolate flavors mix with strong coffee and alcohol! This is a powerful brew not intended for the inexperienced. I actually think this one is better after having been aged for a year or two.

By far the best chocolate beer I have ever enjoyed is brewed by Southern Tier Brewing Company. Choklat is a 9.5  percent ABV American Double Stout and it is divine. This beer has the most chocolate aroma and taste of any beer I know brewed today. This is a dark bittersweet chocolate beer at its best. The extremely limited release and availability of Choklat make this ale all the more prized and amazing.

Pairing chocolate stouts with sweets is always a fine idea. Homemade brownies and chocolate chip cookies are a great mix with any of the above beers. I’ve even made a beer float with a rich chocolate stout. Try different combinations and see what works for your tastbuds. Of course, most of these beers can act as a dessert in and of themselves. Enjoy the brews. … Cheers.

Gene’s Haufbrau has at more than 200 in bottles or on tap. While they don’t have every beer the Beer Snob writes about, they probably have most. E-mail the Beer Snob at publisher@westof.net.

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