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Beer for Valentine's Day

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With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I know you may be thinking, “Which beer would be appropriate?”

Of course, there are many ways to go about deciding this question: are you drinking with a special someone, are you drinking with friends, are you drinking without anyone else? And do these people like beer? And, if so, which style?

 

I decided I would pick out beers whose names associate with Valentine’s Day one way or another. (There are other ways: for instance, you could pick out just red beers or just chocolatey beers.) Whether that means love-related or specific to the day, here are four beers you may consider:

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This first beer has “love” right in its name. Beachwood Brewing’s Udder Love (5.9% ABV), a milk stout, provides an interesting mix of sweet and bitter. With its roasted barley nose, the roasted flavor brings a noticeable amount of bitterness, as well as a coffee flavor. However, what’s more noticeable up front is the lactose sweetness is, giving way to a more dominant coffee acridness in the back half of the palate. Normally, beer strives to balance the sweetness of the malt with the bitterness of the hops, whereas this beer aspires to balance the sweetness of the lactose against the bitterness of the roasty malt. The finish on this beer is like that of having drunk sweetened coffee, with two distinct flavors being quite noticeable - coffee bitterness and sugary sweetness.

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With chocolate being a very common flavor associated with Valentine’s Day, a chocolate-flavored beer might be what you are looking for.  For this, I chose Arsenal Urban AlesU’ll Make Sum1 Rly Happy (8.7% ABV), a chocolate stout. This was an incredible chocolatey stout! It has a bittersweet chocolate nose and a very delicious, enveloping dark chocolate flavor. (This beer will now serve as my archetype beer for what a chocolate stout should be.)  With nearly 9% alcohol, it was hard to tell that it was there, as the booze was well-hidden and one could drink a lot of this beer. It would make for a great beer to drink pint-after-pint of.  This beer has some sweetness, but it is certainly not as noticeable as with the Udder Love. The finish on this beer has some sweetness and a lot of chocolate. This beer definitely makes me happy. The name of this beer seems to be like those of others from this brewery that are actually names taken from SMS messages sent when trying to break-up with a special someone. This beer had a name that was, seemingly, the least break-upy.

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Moving on to beers with Valentine’s Day in their title, we have Stone Brewing’s Enjoy by 02.14.17 (9.4% ABV), a chocolate and coffee India pale ale. This beer is quite interesting, as the aroma has a vanilla sweetness and floral hops welcoming you. It has a pillowy soft mouthfeel, which is very welcoming (certainly much lighter than, say, their Double Bastard).  The bitterness on this is a smooth bitterness, with the coffee accentuating the hop bitterness within it.  It has a typical Stone Brewing malt profile and some chocolateyness, which finishes somewhat dryly. While this may seem vaguely like their Mocha IPA, it is less bitter, lighter in mouthfeel, and overall, easier to drink.

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Finally, some of you might be bitter about Valentine’s Day. For you, AleSmith Brewing Company’s My Bloody Valentine Ale (6.66% ABV), a red ale, might be what you are searching for. It is reddish-brownish in color and, seemingly, in flavor, too. This is a fascinatingly bitter beer, with a soft bitterness at first and a soft mouthfeel, but then quickly gives way to a harsher mouthfeel.  There is some caramel maltiness that makes an appearance on the palate to hide some of the bitterness, but then it disappears to leave a noticeably bitter finish. This is certainly an anti-Valentine’s Day beer, definitely not a lovey-dovey beer.

 

These are some of the beers out there that are Valentine’s Day-related in one way or another and I hope you enjoy!

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Guest Wednesday, 28 June 2017

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