Sure chocolates are nice for Valentine’s Day (or any time, really) but if you really want to show the person you love you care about them, there are plenty of beers that mimic lots of desserts. If your special someone loves beer, then all the more reason to go this route.
I’ve selected five beers that exemplify the term “pastry beer.” A pastry beer is usually a dark and high ABV beer where the flavors of the beer mimic the flavors of desserts. This can be achieved by adding desserts straight into the beer (putting whole cookies in beer anyone?) or using ingredients like cocoa or coconut during the brewing process. Rich dark malts also can create flavors of coffee, dark spices and chocolate in beers. Lastly, many of these beers are barrel aged and the barrels can lend flavors of cinnamon and vanilla.
Here are some of my favorite pastry beers for the Valentine’s Day season.
Jack’s Abby Framinghammer
Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers is a Massachusetts based lager brewery that makes a Baltic porter in many tasty, sweet flavors. A 9% ABV beer, they’ve made a lot of different versions that taste like everything from a chai latte to French toast (oooh la la) and they also do a bourbon barrel aged version as well.
If you love rich dark chocolate, I’ve got a beer for you. Colorado based Weldwerks Brewing Company makes some stellar dark beer options including their Medianoche (Spanish for “midnight”), a 14.1% imperial stout that’s thick and inviting and great for sharing. I love the tasting notes on this beer from their website: Nilla Wafers, melted caramel, fresh chocolate chip cookies, oak, and hints of cinnamon pecans. Sounds great to me!
Fremont B Bomb Imperial Stout
Seattle based Fremont Brewing may have the best barrel program in the country and their barrel aged imperial stouts have excellent flavors of dark fruit, cocoa, and coffee. I also love how easily accessible the beers are too if you live in the Pacific Northwest and at 14.7% ABV, Fremont’s B Bomb imperial stout has more alcohol than most red wines so it’s the perfect after dinner sipper in lieu of dessert.
Bottle Logic Stronger Than Fiction
Anaheim, California based Bottle Logic Brewing’s strong and dark beers are awards magnets and are darlings at the Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beers in Chicago each year. Their barrel program is really strong and they have an excellent reputation as well. Stronger than Fiction is a 13% ABV barrel aged strong ale with coconut and coffee. Coconut is my favorite addition for pastry beers as it creates essentially a liquid candy bar.
Abomination Midnight Snack
Do you like to eat your beer with a fork and a knife? Abomination Brewing’s beers almost feel like you can eat their beers. Their Midnight Snack beer has been made in a variety of flavors like cheesecake (where they add cheesecakes to the beer!), pumpkin pie and more. Currently at their North Haven, Connecticut facility, they are selling a 14% ABV rocky road ice cream version, made with ice cream, chocolate, marshmallow, and nuts. Wow.
Cheers to decadent beers this Valentine’s Day and remember to celebrate responsibly with those you truly care about.