It’s that time of year when rich chocolate and bubbly go hand in hand. Whether celebrating Valentine’s Day with your better half or heck, with a group of friends, here is some great bubbly that’s definitely not your typical champagne.
If you’re a rich, dark chocolate fan such as myself, the first beer to celebrate with is from Dieu du Ciel Brewery, and the title itself screams romance. It’s called Aphrodisiaque and it’s a creamy chocolate stout. This is a bottled up death by chocolate cake with a serious kick! It has a smooth yet intoxicating blend of sweet vanilla, rich and ever so slightly bitter cocoa. Its beautiful auburn head sits nicely while giving off vanilla, dark chocolate and malt aromas. This can be paired with chocolate covered strawberries or a berry trifle drizzled with dark chocolate. Be sure to serve in a wine glass or snifter for the occasion and to appreciate the exotic flavours, sip at a warmer temperature of ~50 degrees.
A big thank you to Booze Reviews (www.boozereviews.ca) for introducing me to this next gem, Flying Monkeys The Chocolate Manifesto. If you’re familiar with this brewery out of Toronto, you’ll know that they are always releasing dangerously delicious seasonal and limited edition brews. This velvety thick, rich and intensely chocolate imperial stout at 10% is a must for any chocolate and craft beer fan. It is on the sweeter end of the spectrum than the Aphrodisiaque by Dieu du Ciel and comes in a larger bottle, perfect for sharing with that special someone. Pair this one with a new york cheese cake drizzled in caramel and topped with berries or a light Tiramisu.
This last libation for your Valentine’s Day is not a beer but a cider, and is a great palate cleanser for in between each of the above brews. It could even be a replacement for champagne on any given occasion if you’d looking for something more crisp and refreshing but with the same amount of bubbles and less alcohol. Rock Creek by Big Rock Brewery is a great dry cider that coincidentally enough is made with champagne yeast so though it’s not a champagne it’s got all the bubbles that champagne has. Rock Creek is made with just a hint of cinnamon and vanilla, Okanagan apples, pears. Enjoy this cider in a champagne flute for the occasion and pair with a soft cheese such as Brie or Camembert warmed up and topped with slices of baked apples and caramelized pecans.
There you have it, rich dessert-like beer that almost puts champagne and strawberries to shame. No matter who you will be celebrating or commiserating Valentine’s Day with this year, enjoy it with these tasty treats!