February 14th is Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day, or simply a day to wear black, glare at anyone in love, and talk crap about cupid with your cat(s). In all seriousness, it’s just another day.
With that said, any day is a good day for chocolate and beer, so I decided to use this ostensibly romantic day to put together some pairings. Some of my selections were beers that I’ve had before, others were picked based on my own curiosity. I also decided to select brews that are fairly easy to access and are currently available now at either the brewery or liquor store.
Love and Affection by Boombox. Disclaimer: I did not pick this beer based on it’s name—that is just a happy bonus. L&A is loaded with raspberries, cranberries, and sour cherries, giving it complex layers of sour jammy goodness with hints of oak. The sharp tartness of this beer makes it ideal to enjoy with dark chocolate or truffles. Think of this pairing as a more exciting and flavourful take on the old chocolate covered strawberries cliché.
Bourbon and Oak Barrel Infused Salted Black Porter by Field House. I really dig FH’s regular Salted Black Porter and so my interest was naturally piqued by this infused version. The beer itself is incredibly complex: chocolate, bourbon, oak, coffee, liquorice, salt. Enjoying it with chocolate helps to mellow out a lot of the complexities, bringing the bourbon flavour to the forefront. To be honest, I prefer the regular version because the salted Dutch liquorice is far more prominent, but this version is still tasty as heck! Pick a chocolate that has some sea salt added to it to really pull out the brine.
Excitation Cacao Nib Espresso Stout by Category 12. So. Much. Coffee. So much! The cacao nib adds a layer of bitterness, so have this beer with a milk chocolate or something sweeter to balance it out. I enjoyed Excitation with Galerie au Chocolat’s cappuccino flavoured milk chocolate to really emphasis and embrace the intense espresso flavour. I’d recommend skipping the after dinner coffee and have this combination instead.
Oude Kriek Vieille by Brouwerij Oud Beersel. Compared to L&A, Kriek Vielle is far less tart. Where its lacks in punchiness, it more than makes up for with loads of juicy, cherry jam flavours and hints of red wine. I appreciate how much natural cherry flavour is in this beer for such an affordable price. This beer tastes delicious with darker chocolates, dense fudgey brownies, or molten lava cake.
Three Bears Breakfast Stout by Trading Post. In hindsight, I wish I had paired this beer with something vanilla flavoured. Vanilla creamer is one of my favourite coffee inclusions and owing to this beer’s coffee forward flavour, I could have recreated one of my early morning classics. I recommend letting a chunk of chocolate melt on your palate between every few sips, since the coffee is so prominent that it masks the roasted cocoa notes a little. That way you will be able to create ample mocha flavour that is sure to please even the most discerning sweet tooth.
If you want to save these pairings for another night, there are a few places that are hosting some Valentine’s Day specials:
Luppolo Brewing is offering their Extra Stout paired with Piadina Dolce with Nutella for $9
Trading Post has a chocolate and beer flight
And for something completely different…Colony Bar on Main Street is hosting an Anti Valentine’s Day party with complimentary prosecco for groups of 6 or more girls
On this day filled with fondness and appreciation, The Wet Hop wants to express our love to you, our readership. Without your love and affection, our blog wouldn’t be possible.
Happy Valentine’s Day!