If you’re looking for that perfect after-dinner desert beer this evening, we have you covered. Our top picks are Boulevard’s Chocolate Ale and Brooklyn’s Black Chocolate Stout (reviewed below), but there are a few others worth mentioning.
We’ll save the mushy stuff and cut to the beer. Here are six beers worth sampling this Valentine’s Day.
Southern Tier Choklat Stout: This offering checks in at 11 percent ABV but packs a serious dark chocolate and bitter-sweet taste. If you’ve had the pleasure of trying their Pumking, it’s the same idea – loads of flavor that lives up to the name, Choklat.
Foothills Brewing Sexual Chocolate: This brew is released just before Valentine’s Day every year and doesn’t hold back on the flavor or the innuendos. It’s also 9.25 percent, so please, drink with caution.
Slumbrew Porter Square Porter: A relative newcomer on the craft beer scene, this Massachusetts based company features locally sourced cacao nibs from Taza Chocolate. Chocolate, coffee and roasty flavors dance on your palate with a delicate balance. And at just 6.5 percent, you can probably drink a few.
Bison Brewing Organic Chocolate Stout: So you’re looking for a nightcap but you are adamant on staying OrganicÔÇª Bison Brewing to the rescue. This rich, roasty stout brings just enough flavor to keep you guessing but doesn’t overpower your taste buds. Oh and that addition of cocoa powder to the mash is quite alright with us as well.
Boulevard’s latest addition to their large format Smokestack Series is Chocolate Ale, a seasonal release. On the outside, Chocolate Ale’s label seems cluttered and clumsy. Christopher Elbow (chocolatier and collaborator for this beer) isn’t necessarily a household name, yet it competes with the rest of the text for dominance. This all sits in stark contrast to the neck band found on Smokestack Series beers, which is strong, clean, and to the point. That said, what’s inside the bottle is a very pleasant surprise.
Boulevard’s Chocolate Ale pours a slightly hazy light brown color with a thick tan head. The aroma of Chocolate Ale is that of semi-sweet chocolate, much like a baking cookie, with well-balanced notes of malt. On the palate, this beer has a smooth, silky texture that is full of malt and hints of chocolate. The malt and chocolate have a wonderful balance and compliment rather than overpower the other.
At 9.1%, there is only a slight hint of alcohol through the middle of each sip, but that quickly gives way to a mildly bitter, earthy finish with flavors of nuts and tobacco noticeable. Boulevard’s Chocolate Ale, despite some underwhelming packaging, is a complex and pleasant beer that should not be missed.
The label says it all. If you’re looking for a Chocolate Stout, this is it. But be warned, this beer is 10 percent despite what you may think while drinking.
Brooklyn Chocolate Stout pours jet black in color with a very small amount of brown colored head. The nose is exactly what you would expect, chocolate upon chocolate. If you dig past the intense chocolate aroma however, you will pick up a nice roast character, some dark fruits and a hint of toffee. The taste follows the smell with this one. Dark chocolate, roast and a coffee-like bitterness dominate your palate. A smooth but viscous mouthfeel and medium carbonation make this beer incredibly enjoyable from start to finish.
Overall, this is one of the most enjoyable imperial stouts you can find with relative ease. The 12-ounce format is perfect for a beer that checks in at such a high ABV. The label art is simple and elegant and definitely stands out on the shelf.