In this week's Pintful beer column, I offer an alternative to the red, heart-shaped box of mediocre chocolates for Valentine’s Day: chocolate beer. The options are aplenty this time of year, so I called three local bottle shops for recommendations from the pros. Pick one up today.
-- Jason Cole from The Bottle Shop at Tyler’s Taproom in Raleigh: Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. The British brewery sells the beer in 16.9-ounce nitrogenated cans, taking the flavor to a whole new level. “It softens up the flavors so you get almost this buttery chocolate flavor,” Cole said. He likes it poured over vanilla ice cream. Sold in four packs, about $9.50.
-- Ben Wilson at Sam’s Quik Shop in Durham: Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout. A newcomer on the market from fall 2012, this is a true chocolate dessert beer. “It just delivers on what it’s called,” Wilson says. “It’s very densely milk-chocolaty.” Sold in four packs, about $11.
-- Jason Kaczor at Ridgewood Wine and Beer in Raleigh: Terrapin Moo-Hoo Chocolate Milk Stout. This seasonal sweet stout from an Athens, Ga.-based brewery is rich in flavor but not over the top. Kaczor describes it as “milk chocolate with a little bit of roastiness to it.” Sold in four packs, about $9.