Just like a box of truffles, no two chocolate beers taste alike. Here, the chocolate beers (and a cider to boot!) we’re loving right now:
1. Chocolate beers don’t have to resemble ganache; Boulevard Chocolate Ale looks more like caramel. Brewed in conjunction with chocolatier Christopher Elbow, the 9.1%-ABV annual release showcases toffee and berry notes in a perky, bright body; cocoa shows up near the end brandishing dusty bitterness.
2. Aged with cocoa nibs inside bourbon barrels, Empyrean Nibbed in the Barrel Oatmeal Stout swirls booze and dark chocolate together and ties them tight with hop-and-cocoa-nib bitterness and awesome effervesence. Even the “I’m so over bourbon barrels” crowd won’t resist the spirit’s light touch.
3. Chocolate cider?! Believe it. Creamy chocolate makes sweet music with caramelly apple in Woodchuck Chocolate cider. It pours fizzy-light, but on the tongue it’s lush and composed.
4. You will love everyone if you manage to top off a massive 10.3%-ABV bomber of 201 Central Imperial Stout. Brewed with French chocolate and cocoa nibs that peek out with sweet chocolate in the beginning, the real lovefest here is all in the alcohol: It’s cherry sweet and hot, just like your perfect V-day date.
5. Fort Collins Double Chocolate Stout exhales plumes of roasted malt; the swallow—quite quaffable for its 8.5% ABV—echoes the bouquet with more ashy malt, splashes of coffee and a humble cocoa whisper.
6.We’ve been following Odell Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout since its debut last year, and we still can’t get enough of its chocolate-milk goodness. It’s rich, creamy and udderly (sorry) addictive; beware the 8.5% ABV.
7. One of the burliest chocolate beers out there, Speakeasy Black Hand Chocolate Milk Stout’s not your typical milkshake-y sweet stout: The swallow focuses on strong malt-and-coffee roast, turning to cocoa nibs for a swell of dark chocolate at the back of the palate.
8. Mystery Brewing Six Impossible Things smells mocha-latte-sweet, but its flavor is fascinatingly restrained: Muted, balanced chocolate and coffee reads earthy instead of milky. Even the oatmeal in the brew doesn’t dare smooth the swallow too much.
9. One of the O.G. chocolate beers, Rogue Chocolate Stout is a straight-from-the-box beauty, with a classically rich chocolate cocoa flavor and a roasted, ashy finish for a simple, delicious treat.
10. Back by popular demand, the re-released Terrapin Dos Cocoas porter (originally brewed in 2008) leans on cocoa nibs and shells from Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Co. for a full chocolate mouthful. Lactic, milky sweetness rules the swallow and sticks to the tongue for a few heartbeats after the finish.