All kinds of great adjuncts can squeeze comfortably into beer, from baking spices thrown into the stout vat to fresh citrus in an IPA. The most creative brewers take it a step further, adding fruit and lactose for smoothie sour beers or even kelp if they’re set near the coast.
But we’re here to talk about chocolate, the king of decadence. Turns out, chocolate is a great playmate with beer, provided you select the right style. You can’t just throw cacao at a lager and expect enjoyment. It’s all about balancing flavors and porters and stouts in particular, among a few other heavy styles and barrel-aged beers, do great with chocolate. The malt profiles already exude those kinds of flavors, tasting dark or bittersweet baking chocolate.
Many of the following beers are made with chocolate while others simply evoke chocolatey flavors, thanks to the specific malt bill or how the beer is aged. Regardless, they all appeal to the cacao enthusiasts out there.
With spring and summer in the air, it may seem more like refreshing lager and pale ale season. That’s certainly the case, but come evening and after a meal, a good chocolate beer can serve as an outstanding liquid dessert. When it comes to the best chocolate beer, here are your best bets.
Not many beers effortlessly take in perfect 100-point scores from the critics, but this one is known to do just that. It’s a delectable number, barrel-aged, and resonating with character. It can be hard to find and doesn’t always get released every year, but it’s well worth the pursuit.
While chocolate is not technically added to this gem of a beer, you’d never know it. The chocolate notes are pronounced, playing off of the toasted coconut flavors and even offering hints of espresso and malted milk ball.
This is a favorite among East Coasters, especially as Yuengling is based in Pennsylvania. As the name suggests, there’s Hershey’s in the batch, affording a nice sweetness that lifts up the earthy qualities of this relatively light porter. At under 5% ABV, you can have a few and not beat yourself up about it.
Always rated high and always delicious, this organic stout from Samuel Smith of the U.K. is as reliable as they come. The chocolate shows up more on the nose than the palate, but that’s part of the charm, as the stout notes come through, alongside flavors of roasted marshmallow and toffee.
Here’s an ideal option from Three Creeks Brewing out of central Oregon. Quite smooth and rich, the beer is made with 2 pounds of Belgian chocolate per barrel. That translates to heaven in the glass.
This release from Oklahoma is a stout aged atop chocolate, along with vanilla, coffee, and ancho chili peppers. The result is a beer with impeccable balance with a kick from the peppers along with some sweetness and earthiness from the chocolate and Java. Careful, this bad boy is a colossal 13% ABV — so hand off the car keys or stay in for the evening.
Some chocolate beers are so chocolatey they instantly become dessert staples. This is one of those brews, with a candied quality that’s perfect after a big meal. Enjoy it neat in a proper stout glass or alongside a snickerdoodle or piece of biscotti.
This porter is hit with generous amounts of chocolate and coconut, a duo that does amazing things together, especially in beer form.
This beer from Colorado drops every fall and is usually available through the winter. It’s a creamy milk stout, made with milk sugar and is reminiscent of the chocolate milk we used to down as kids.
An extension of the California brand’s popular Xocoveza stout series, Tres Leches brings even more flavor to the fore. It’s an imperial stout beer informed by Oaxacan hot chocolate. It’s very indulgent, a little spicy, and all kinds of delicious.
- Bud Light maker Anheuser Busch is selling 7 of its better beer brands to Canadian company: Report
- Plan your end-of-summer road trip: The 10 best beer cities to visit
- The 9 best CBD-infused drinks we tried in 2023
- The 6 best barbecue beers, by brew style
- Think Circle K is just a pit stop for road trip snacks? The chain now has its own portfolio of wines