With Valentine’s Day in mind, some sweet brews for your sweetheart … and you

With Valentine's Day in mind, some sweet brews for your sweetheart ... and you

For some, Valentine’s Day is a chance to give chocolates or other sweets. For others, the day might bring a blend of sweet and sour elements. The local craft beer industry sees Valentine’s Day as an opportunity for creativity, collaboration and even some ruminations on the nature of love.

Whether you seek a sweet chocolate-infused beer for your sweetie, or your inclination is more toward the sour, local craft beer makers might have just the thing, if you want a special craft beer to help celebrate the day.

Five craft breweries have new releases designed around Valentine’s Day, and The Veil Brewing Co.’s co-owner Dave Michelow says the brewery has something special planned for the day, too.

RVA Collab House, the Scott’s Addition location of Three Notch’d Brewing Co., will have Loose Moose on tap for Valentine’s Day.

This “dessert beer” was designed by Charlottesville-area native and avid home brewer Noelle Gray. “A chocolate lover’s dream, this rich, creamy stout was made with three different kinds of dark roast barleys, giving it several layers of chocolate and roast flavors, then finished off with Ghirardelli dark chocolate,” says Dave Warwick, founding brewer at Three Notch’d.

Castleburg Brewery has a new release coming out Saturday, Feb. 11. The Siege Chocolate Raspberry Stout is described by brewer Karl Homburg as containing “chocolate and subtle hints of raspberry in a dark and decadent milk sweet stout, brewed with cocoa nibs from the Dominican Republic and raspberries.”

This will beg comparison to the well-established Hardywood Raspberry Stout, available since March 2013. Hardywood Park Craft Brewery’s stout is described as “brewed with heaps of chocolate malt, cacao nibs and local, late-season red raspberries from Agri-berry Farm. It captures the essence of a decadent raspberry truffle in liquid form.”

Trapezium Brewing in Petersburg will release Get Lucky 14 Raspberry Stout on Friday, Feb. 10. This new offering has “bright raspberry flavor with subtle notes of chocolate,” says sales director Kirk Candler.

Other chocolate-infused stouts can be found in Goochland County and Ashland. Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery in Goochland offers Heir Apparent, and Center of the Universe Brewing Co. in Ashland has Orange Is the New Stout, described as “an imperial chocolate stout crafted with oranges and sea salt.”

For those looking for a lighter chocolate beer, porters can also include chocolate. Dave Gott, executive vice president of Legend Brewing Co., offers this description of Legend Chocolate Porter: “We generously added dark malts to this brew, including caramel and chocolate malts. By blending in natural cocoa, the flavor is of dark chocolate, coffee, caramel, and more dark chocolate.”

Triple Crossing Brewing Co. went in the sweet-and-sour direction for its Valentine’s Day release. Co-owner Scott Jones says the brewery’s Waxing Poetic with Passionfruit and Mango, a 4 percent tart wheat Berliner Weisse, “was fermented and conditioned over hundreds of pounds of mango and passion fruit purée. Tart, tropical and fruit forward.”

Isley Brewing’s new Valentine’s Day-themed release also focused on the sour. Summit Ave 3 is a barrel-aged sour Belgian white with cherries. Isley Brewing Co. brewmaster Josh Stamps describes it as: “Forty pounds of sour black cherries, Lactobacillus (bacteria that produce lactic acid to create the “sour” taste) and Brettanomyces (yeast) to add sour, tartness and a funk, all over a simple Belgian blonde!” The rationale behind this, Stamps says, is that “love is bittersweet, and we take the good with the bad, we work through challenges, and come out better than ever (hopefully!). Into the barrels went a rather simple, mild blonde ale.

“We utilized some very difficult, sometimes frustrating, always challenging techniques. Like love, this beer has faced many challenges, and has emerged stronger, better, and more beautiful than ever before.”

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