8 Beers to Love for Valentine’s Day and Beyond
That Cupid is one tricky guy. It seems that he’s not only aiming for people now with his bow and arrow, but instead is choosing to take aim at a few of our favorite beers, too. Thankfully, his aim is true and the beers he’s chosen are, by and far, excellent choices for not only Valentine’s Day, but for the coming months, too.
Speaking of those coming months, winter has a bad rap for only being about dark, heavy beers. One would be led to believe that all the lighter and hoppier beers are laid to rest until the snow thaws and the sun comes out for more than 4 hours each day, but the truth is this just isn’t so. Winter is filled with amazing beers and while yes, some of them are dark and delicious, many are lighter in color and full of flavors that we all too often associate only with warmer months.
With some help from the love man himself, we’ve collected a few beers that you’re bound to love. From the dark and chocolaty to the bright and hoppy, there’s a beer in this list for everyone to love. Check out cupid’s beer choices for Valentine’s Day and beyond and get yourself a dose of liquid love today.
Anderson Valley Brewing Company Briney Melon Gose
You may not be familiar with the gose beer style (pronounced go-sah), but you should be. These beers are slightly salty with a tart character that’s akin to sour beers, but more tart than sour. The folks over at Anderson Valley Brewing Company have brewed a few varieties of this classic beer style, including this brand-new iteration that’s bound to please.
The classic gose style is paired with subtle watermelon aroma and flavor to give this beer a perfect harmony between acidity and fruity sweetness. The finish is nice and dry, giving you a beer that’s both tart and sweet without any lingering sweetness on the finish. As with others in the style, this new gose will come in at a sessionable 4.2% ABV and is available in bottles, cans, and on draft.
Bell’s Brewery Hopslam
When it comes to IPAs, this one may very well be king. Bell’s Brewing uses six different varietals of hops to craft the huge citrus and floral flavor that’s packed into this beer, giving it a complex and very bitter taste and aroma. Weighing in at a hefty 10% ABV, Hopslam is a beer for true lovers of the hop.
Hopslam is a true imperial IPA, with a huge flavor and enough alcohol to give the beer a slight warmth on the finish. As you might have guessed, Cupid’s worked overtime on this one, making just about everyone love Hopslam, so while it may take a little work to find this beer, the work is definitely worth the reward. Hopslam this year is available in 12oz cans, 5 liter cans, and on draft.
Bell’s Brewery Smitten Golden Rye
smitten |ˈsmitn|: (be smitten) be strongly attracted to someone or something: she was so smitten with the the beer.
Smitten isn’t a word that’s used too often anymore, but I argue that it should be. A perfect use of this word is for the golden rye ale brewed by Bell’s Brewing. Their idea of Smitten starts with rye to impart a spiciness and body to the beer that give the beer an almost magical presence.
On the nose you’ll notice peppery rye spiciness along with a noticeable bready aroma. The taste has rye up front with a nice citrusy hop character following it up. All of this sits nicely on a malt backbone that’s all about bready malt. The rye imparts a creamy mouthfeel that finishes the beer up perfectly.
Bell’s Smitten Golden Rye Ale comes in at 6% ABV and is available only during the spring and early summer. Smitten is a great example of an interesting take on the traditional American Pale Ale with a nice rye malt twist. Smitten Golden Rye Ale pairs very well with strong cheeses, salty snacks, and savory meats. All perfect food choices for a nice home-cooked meal at home with that special someone. Smitten is available is 12oz bottles, 16oz cans, and on draft.
North Country Brewing Liquid Love Chocolate Stout
One of the tenants of a good Valentine’s Day is chocolate. A close second to this would be, in my book, alcohol, so why not combine the two into a stout that is part chocolate, part beer, and all amazing?
North Country Brewing out of Slippery Rock, PA brews their Liquid Love Stout to be the perfect balance of chocolate and dark stout not only for those of us celebrating Valentine’s Day, but for anyone else looking for a great dark beer with overtones of dark chocolate. When it comes to chocolate stouts, a little goes a long way, which is why this beer is so great. The beer is well balanced with enough bitterness paired with the toasted malt to support the chocolate and make this 6.5% ABV beer extremely drinkable and infinitely enjoyable, but make sure to find it on draft, as it’s the only way you’ll find it this year.
Stone Brewing Pataskala Red X IPA
However you pronounce the name of this new beer, the impressiveness of it stays the same. This unique red IPA was first brewed in September of 2015 to support music and arts education programs in none other than Pataskala, Ohio where Stone’s co-founder Greg Koch grew up. It was such a hit that Stone decided to release it to the rest of us, too.
The red part of this beer’s name comes from the dark crimson hue the beer pours, which comes from the malt variety used in brewing. This, paired with massive dry-hoppings with Mosaic, Cascade, and Amarillo hops give this beer a citrus-forward flavor that’s backed up with biscuit and toffee notes. Coming in at 7.3% ABV and 75 IBUs, this is one beer that you don’t want to miss, even if you can’t pronounce it. Stone Brewing’s Pataskala Red will be available in 12oz bottles and on draft.
Troegs Cultivator Helles Bock
While the ground might not be thawing just yet, farmers are starting to plan their crops and the ensuing cultivation of said crops. Not into the whole farming business? That’s fine, you can still join in with Tröeg’s Cultivator Helles Bock.
This 6.9% ABV lager is a fresh and crisp beer with just enough hop bitterness to be refreshing. Brewed with floor malted Bohemian Pilsner malt and Hersbrucker and Magnum hops, Cultivator is a simply amazing beer. The malt body gives the beer a little more meat than a typical lager while still staying light enough to be delicious.
If you’re looking to make a dinner for that special someone, Cultivator pairs very well with a variety of cheeses including Asiago, Colby, Gruyère and Swiss. The malty sweetness and clean, dry finish of the beer also complements spicy dishes like Thai or Korean BBQ, shellfish, and a variety of fried foods. Cultivator will be available in 12oz bottles, cans, and on draft.
Tröegs Nugget Nectar
Here’s a beer you could really make your main squeeze. Nugget Nectar is Tröegs Brewing’s ode to the hop. Tröegs uses ultra-fresh hops to give this beer huge aroma and flavor that’s hard to beat. Coming in at 7.5% ABV and a hefty 93 IBUs, this beer is technically considered an imperial amber ale, even though it’s stiff competition for any IPA out there.
Nugget Nectar just saw its 2016 release in January to a thirsty throng of beer lovers, and if you want to get your hands on this lovely, you better do it soon or else be without the one you love for another year. And trust me, this isn’t one you want to have a long-distance relationship with. Nugget Nectar will be available in 12oz bottles, cans, and on draft.
Victory Brewing 20th Anniversary IPA
It seems like just a year ago we were celebrating the 19th anniversary of Victory Brewing with an amazing session IPA. This year for their big 20th anniversary, Victory decided to go experimental with a very special IPA.
This IPA is brewed with two varietals of malt and an experimental hop, known only as Idaho 7. This beer boasts complex and fruity aromas including orange and apricot with just a hint of a piney, herbalness that makes the beer truly unique.
Victory chose to keep the ABVs low again this year to give us a beer we can party and celebrate with all night. At 5.5% ABV, this beer gives you all the flavor with just enough alcohol to be great. Look for it both in bottles and on draft.
Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with a special someone or kicking it by yourself, any of the beers in this list would make the perfect companion.
Each of these beers and more are distributed in and around the Pittsburgh area by Vecenie Distributing.