8 beers to woo your lover this Valentine’s Day
Love is in the air, and – like a subtly carbonated Imperial Beer – its effects are intoxicating. And there are plenty of choices of beer for your special someone this Valentine’s Day (and yes, your special someone can definitely be yourself), and we at Imperial Beer Club think that there’s no better gift than the gift of beer.
We’ve rummaged through the ranks of tasty ales to bring you some of our favourites with a romantic theme – so you can show your better half that you love them with a half (or bottle).
1. Treat him well this Valentine’s Day, make him feel like a… Lucky Boy, Brighton, ABV: 7%
Any guy who receives a bottle of this will certainly feel like fortune has favoured him,.
This smooth yet complex Cascadian Dark Ale is brewed with Mosaic and Simcoe, and dry hopped with Citra.
The high percentage of malted oats contrasts well with the high bitterness, giving a first aroma of fresh, roasted hops and dark orange-brown pour with a foamy cream-coloured head.
On further investigation, the nose gives up mint, pine, even eucalyptus before citric notes join the hops on the taste. The bitterness is initially balanced with the roasted malts and subtle carbonation before a crisp herbal bitterness lingers for the aftertaste.
2. For when your boyfriend treats you like a Russian Queen: Rasputin, Brouwerij de Molen, ABV: 10.4%
As majestic and meaty as the moustache on this Imperial Stout’s infamous eponym, this is a fine rascal of an ale.
Bold and dark on the pour – again like that moustache – heavy tones of fresh coffee, chocolate and forest fruits such as plums and raisins lead the charge. Along follows the rearguard of dense roasted malts, hints of oak and leather, supported by a tingle of molasses and vanilla sweetness.
To finish the complicated love story, even notes of barley wine shine through to mingle with the brown ale finish.
3. If he gets you chocolate, you get him: Choccywoccbrew-ha, Brighton Bier, ABV: 7.0%
Legendary chocolate makers Choccywoccydoodah don’t just cater for the ladies.
They recently paired up with Brighton Bier to create a velvety chocolate stout, which won the bronze medal at the International Beer Challenge 2016.
Decadent and smooth, the stout is made with eight different malts including Chocolate Rye and Chocolate Barley Malt as well as Belgian candi sugar, American Cascade hops and cacao nibs.
Cocoa, dark chocolate, and coffee grounds waft out from a deep black pour with a warm tan head.
Dark fruit and tobacco smoke combine for a smoky-yet-sweet taste and the cacao nibs add a bitter dimension and a dry nuttiness.
4. Bring the Parisian romance back from the city of love: Saison 28, Weird Beard, ABV: 10.2%
The cunning mathematicians at Weird Beard doubled up on the flavour of their Saison 14 French / Farmhouse Beer for their 300th brew, the Imperial version.
It's made with more Pacific Gem and Sorachi Ace and that same, bold, Belgian Belle Saison yeast.
A golden pour and a big blond head gives the essence of summer that the brewers were talking about.
Layers of candied fruit intertwine, as Pacific Gem brings papaya and blackberries and Sorachi Ace adds lemon, orange, sherbet and coconut.
Spice and pepper come from the yeast in the finish which moves from fruity to flowery.
5. For passion as hot as a tropical island: Coconut Porter, Burning Soul & Fixed Wheel, ABV: 7%
For those with fire in the loins, or perhaps those who are just nuts, this creamy porter pours a clear, dark brown with a bubbly coconut-flesh-coloured head.
Aromas of smoky roast hops and charcoal give way to a complex taste of light sweet malts and creamy caramel, sliced through with bitterness of liquorice and black pepper. The coconut notes last throughout the drink, which is medium bodied with subtle carbonation and a slightly dry finish.
6. For some fun with the lights turned off: Blacklight Banana, Siren, ABV: 9.2%
If you ever wanted a glow-in-the-dark beer, this is about a close as you’ll get to turning your dreams into reality.
This “blacklight-inspired” 9.2% imperial stout contains ripe blow-torched bananas which incredibly glow a vibrant indigo under UV light.
German and Vermont yeasts are used to give a traditional black pour and creamy head.
Aromas of toffee, caramel, vanilla and milky coffee and enlivened with 100kg of fresh bananas, 100kg of banana puree and 200kg of molasses to leave a malty, creamy and fruity mouthfeel.
An understandably medium to full body is balanced with a soft yet significant carbonation, fading to a surprisingly light, bitter finish.
7. For people who aren’t afraid to get a bit steamy in the bedroom: Safe Word, Weird Beard, ABV: 6.6%
Sometimes, we all need to take a breather – from whatever we’re doing – and this cloudy amber ale will provide some respite.
The foamy white head rests lazily on a herbal, hoppy body, with hints of pine, oranges and cherries. Over the duration of the drink, baked green and red apple and forest fruits move in with a notable alcohol warmth, before settling down in to a light, bitter aftertaste.
8. For when you get back together with an ex: Return to Madness, Mad Hatter, ABV: 11.0%
A mental relapse happens to the best of us – including the bonkers chaps at Mad Hatter, who realised that their previous tipple ‘A Moment of Sanity’ just didn’t fit their MO.
So they went extra silly with this Imperial IPA, with bold, Belgian yeast and incomprehensibly fruity Vic’s Secret, Columbus, Centennial and Amarillo hops.
A very hazy golden orange pour with a pale tan head, the carbonation is fine and minerally.
On the nose are tropical and citrus notes, such as passionfruit, mango, pine and orange zest, with a taste that also adds toffee, treacle, strawberry jam and sweet malts.
Some would say that it flirts with the border between a DIPA and barley wine but the strength and breadth of the hops stops the taste from getting too crazy.
Get your filthy hands onto some of these beers
If this has inspired you to get some beers for somebody important – check out our selection of craft beer.