Valentine’s Day is more than hearts and flowers. It’s hops and malt, too. Whether you’re a couple or not, there’s good reason to fall in love this weekend.
Get an early start.
Weyerbacher Brewing in Easton will open at 10 a.m. to unveil this year’s version of Sunday Morning Stout. Yes, it’s a bit of a drive up the Northeast Extension, but that’s time you and your significant other can spend together in deep conversation about the importance of roasted malt in this outstanding barrel-aged brew.
A bold red bomber of Double Chocolate Stout from Rogue Ales & Spirits is a great gift, but make sure you stick around for a taste. It’s a strong (9 percent alcohol) oatmeal stout infused with Dutch chocolate – a creamy treat made with hops and barley grown on Rogue’s farm in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Share your love.
Your partner is into yoga; you love beer. Try both together at the original Happy Hour Yoga. It’s a one-hour all-levels yoga class at Yoga on the Ridge (493 Domino Lane, Roxborough) led by Mrs. Sixpack, Theresa Conroy. That’s followed by a tutored tasting of Valentine-themed beers led by Joe Sixpack. 6:30 p.m. Friday. Reserve your spot for $25.
A table for two.
Each Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant location offers a different Valentine’s menu this weekend, but they’ll all be pouring Cherry Vanilla Porter. It’s a special version of its mainstay Pig Iron Porter, aged with vanilla beans and finished with sour cherry juice.
Play the field.
Your steady favorite back home is nice enough, but a little taste of something different never hurt anyone. Let Joe Sixpack introduce you to a few of his favorite chocolate beers at Bell Beverage (2809 S. Front St., South Philly) from 4-6 p.m. Friday. If you like something, bring it home to share with your sweetie.
Do the deed.
Get in the lovin’ mood with this sixpack:
1. Fourplay. This IPA from Stoudt’s is a good way to start things.
2. Pearl Necklace. No, this oyster stout from Flying Dog is not a piece of jewelry.
3. Old Leghumper. A porter from Thirsty Dog might be the best you can get.
4. Lovely, Dark, and Deep. Release the passion with this oatmeal stout from Brewery Ommegang.
5. Bringing Sexy Bock. Cape May Brewing’s tribute to Justin Timberlake, circa 2006.
6. Happy Ending. An imperial stout from Sweetwater that will leave you smiling.
Say it with chocolates.
Beer made with chocolate is one thing, but what about chocolate made with beer? The best I’ve tasted is Vosges Smoke & Stout, at right, a gooey bar made with Rogue Chocolate Stout, smoked salt, and burnt sugar caramel. Available at Whole Foods.
Do the funky thing.
Shmaltz Brewing is launching Funky Jewbelation ’16 this weekend. It’s a blend of eight of the New York brewery’s ales and lagers that was aged in bourbon and rye barrels for a funky mélange of chocolate, citrus, and sour cherry flavors. Look for it in large bottles.
Reconnect with your ex.
Remember your old flame, Red Hook from Seattle? One of the Pacific Northwest’s earliest microbreweries faded with the years as hot new trophy breweries won your attention. This winter, though, Red Hook came storming back with Blackhook, a full-bodied porter that it first brewed in 1983, but never distributed in Philly. It’s here, and it’s proof that, sometimes, experience is better than the next new thing.
Grab some honey.
Mead, the drink of newlyweds and King Hrothgar of Beowulf fame, is fairly scarce in these parts, thanks to antiquated liquor laws. But you can find the sweet stuff at handful of local meaderies.
Stonekeep Black Currant Mead, available at the Other Farm Brewing, Boyertown.
Jersey Devil Honey Wine, available at Valenzano Winery, Shamong, N.J.
Woofiedog Hopped Mead, available at the Colony Meadery, Allentown.
Who needs a significant other? You can go it alone if you’ve got the right bottle.
1. My Bloody Valentine. You’ll be seeing red with this AleSmith brew.
2. Arrogant Bastard. A strong ale from Stone Brewing that’s better than that jerk who dumped you last month.
3. Femme Fatale. A seductive IPA from Evil Twin who’s nothing but trouble.
4. Damnation. Swear off all relationships with this strong Belgian-style ale from Russian River.
5. Of Love and Regret. An herbal saison from Stillwater Artisanal Ales for that late-night moment of introspection.
6. Alimony Ale. Buffalo Bill’s bitter beer is “irreconcilably different.”