We don’t know who needs to hear this, but this weekend is Valentine’s Day! To help you out, we’ve asked Ryan, our in-house Certified Cicerone®, to work coming up with a 3-course pairing perfect for the day. Good food, good beer, good company – What’s not to love!?  


It’s that time of year, and love is in the air. Whether you love or hate Valentine’s day, I know one thing I love and that is beer. With more people spending time at home and probably hosting dinners, I thought I would put together few pairings of common Valentine’s dinner items with some Darker beers. There is a preconceived notion that dark beer is heavy, overly bitter, high in ABV. It always makes me chuckle when people say, “I don’t like dark beer it’s too strong/heavy” and then order IPA with 80 IBU’s and 7.1% ABV. Dark beers outside of Imperials and barrel-aged, can be quite approachable. They tend to have flavors we are familiar with, like coffee, chocolate, toffee, caramel, nutty, and can sometimes have a malty sweetness. Let’s explore some of these beers with some Valentine’s foods.

Fresh Oysters on the half shell – Paired with Left Hand Brewing Company- Milk Stout

 This beer pours black with a soft tan head. It has aromas of coffee, milk chocolate, and vanilla cream. Taste of chocolate, coffee, and cream. The sweetness is then balanced out by the hop bitterness, which provides a little earthiness to the mix. The slight bitterness, sweet nature of this stout pairs well with the briny flesh of an oyster. The brine of the oyster and the chocolate of the stout will combine for an intense pop of flavor. And the sweetness and creaminess of this stout will help bring out the sweetness of the flesh of the oyster.

ABV: 6% IBU: 25

Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon – Unita Baba Black lager

This lager pours almost jet black. It has a beige head that settles nice and tight. It has aromas of roasted malt, dark coffee, chocolate, and subtle hints of smoke. Baba flavors match that of the aroma with a clean herbal bitterness. This beer goes well with a filet as other cuts of meat have higher fat contents and need a more intense beer. Baba matches the intensity of this delicate and the roasted malt, coffee, and smoke marry the sear on the outside of the filet. The beer does not overpower and allows you to really enjoy the delicate flavors of the filet before the clean finish cleanses your pallet for the next bite.

ABV: 5% IBU: 38

White and Dark Chocolate covered Strawberries – Breckenridge Vanilla Porter

This beer pours dark mahogany and with a thin tan head.  It has aromas of toasted malt, chocolate, and vanilla. It tastes of roasted malt, subtle caramel, dark chocolate, and vanilla. The finish is dry, with no bitterness, and less sweet than expected. It has a thin and light mouth feel. These pair like they were made for each other. The chocolate is intensified by the malt flavors of the beer, while the sweetness/tart of the strawberry and vanilla do their job to balance out the bitterness of the chocolate.  

ABV: 5.4% IBU: 16



I hope you enjoy these pairings and see that dark beers aren’t all heavy and bitter.  They have flavors that we enjoy and consume on a daily basis. Have a wonderful Valentine’s day and thank you for checking out DrinkTanks.


Ryan Boyle

Certified Cicerone®
Craft Beer Sales Manager

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