OK, I know, Valentine's Day is a Hallmark holiday, but I love to make all holidays fun. Tired of heart shaped boxes of chocolates, or flowers? How about beer? Chocolate can go very well with beer, and it is also quite a common ingredient and flavor in beer.
Here are some that are available locally:
Rogue Chocolate Stout (American Stout, 6% ABV, IBUs 69). As would be expected, lots of chocolate in both the nose and flavor of this one.
Rogue Double Chocolate Stout (imperial stout, 9% ABV, IBUs 50). This takes the above beer one step further, with even more chocolate, with hints of espresso, cream, and vanilla.
If you are not really into big stouts, try Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar (American Brown Ale, 6.2% ABV, IBUs 33). While chocolate is not in the name, you certainly will find hints of it along with a more forward taste of nuts.
One of my favorites is Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout (imperial stout, 10% ABV, IBUs 51). This is another fairly big beer with lots of chocolate and roasted malts. Four packs of 12 oz. bottles are still on shelves around Michiana.
A new arrival on the scene is Boulder Brewing Shake Chocolate Porter (American porter, 5.9% ABV, IBUs 39). I have not had the opportunity to try this one yet. And while this is not as big as the others listed above, I'm guessing that it is still going to have a medium to fuller body and mouth feel to it. It will soon be on tap at the Constant Spring.
Here is a good environmentally sound choice, Samuel Smith Organic Chocolate Stout (sweet stout, 5% ABV). This stout is on the lower alcohol level, and is a bit sweeter than other stouts, due to the milk sugar that is added to this style.
Another favorite that I have not yet seen in Michiana is Boulevard Chocolate Ale (American Strong Ale, 9.1% ABV, IBUs 24)). I know that this beer has been released from the brewery, but not sure if it has or will arrive in Michiana.
Another that you might be very lucky to find would be Ommeganag Chocolate Indulgence (Belgian Dark Ale, 7% ABV). This would be a great choice for someone who likes chocolate, but not so much the heavy stouts. I have not specifically seen this on the shelves of Michiana recently, but I would not be surprised if you could find it possibly at City Wide in South Bend.
Lastly, if you are looking for a valentines beer, but not so much chocolate, try Bell's Smitten Golden Rye (rye beer, 6% ABV). With a name like Smitten, how can you go wrong on Valentine's Day.
And just in case you got your valentine a box of Girl Scout cookies this year, click here to find some suggested beer pairings with these iconic cookies.