Brewers often tell me that chocolate as a brewing ingredient adds complexity, well-roundedness, and smoothness to a beer’s flavor. It’s not easy to brew with chocolate—its oils can cause head retention issues, and it often require long and labor-intensive boils—but these beers make it all worth it. Here are seventeen beers compiled in honor of National Chocolate Day (October 28).
Foothills Brewing (Winston-Salem, North Carolina)
Perhaps the most cult-followed of all of the country’s chocolate beers is Sexual Chocolate, and not just because it’s so cleverly named. Foothills Brewing releases this Russian imperial stout each February, and that day you can expect a line out the brewery door.
Odell Brewing Co. (Fort Collins, Colorado)
Lugene is a chocolate milk stout that is named for the dairy farmer who feeds his cows Odell’s spent grain. This sought-after beer is brewed with milk sugar and milk chocolate and is available from January through March.
Organic Chocolate Stout
Bison Brewing (Berkeley, California)
This chocolate beer has returned annually at Bison Brewing since 1989. It’s made with organic Peruvian cocoa added in the mash and has a bittersweet espresso flavor.
Southern Tier Brewing Company (Lakewood, New York)
Southern Tier is known to put sweets in its beers, and the Choklat imperial stout is no exception. This 10 percent ABV beer is bittersweet with hints of cherries.
Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti
Great Divide Brewing Co. (Denver, Colorado)
This incarnation of Great Divide’s popular Yeti imperial stout is brewed with cacao nibs and a dash of cayenne. Vanilla flavors soak in from the oak barrel, and the result is pure decadence.
Chocolate Stout and Double Chocolate Stout
Rogue Ales (Newport, Oregon)
Rogue’s Chocolate Stout is the only American-brewed beer to win an award at the Mondial de la Bière Festival in Strasbourg, France. Rogue brews Double Chocolate Stout, an imperial version of this ale, as well. The chocolate flavor is derived from chocolate malt and real chocolate, and the hops used give it a bitter and sweet finish.
Chocolate Meltdown Stout
Penn Brewery (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
This milk stout is made with Pittsburg’s Betsy Ann chocolate and lactose as well as chocolate malt, black patent, and caramel malt. Look for it in 24-pack cases, 12-packs, and 6-packs in January and February.
Bear Hug Cherry Chocolate Stout
BridgePort Brewing (Portland, Oregon)
Who doesn’t want a Bear Hug? This chocolate stout is brewed with roasted malt and cocoa, as well as 15 lb (6.8 kg) of dark, sweet cherries per barrel.
Ommegang Brewery (Cooperstown, New York)
This Belgian-style brew, brewed with Belgian chocolate, of course, debuted at Ommegang’s tenth anniversary party in 2007. Its Belgian yeast lends a fruity note to it, making it full of flavor.
Oompa Loompa Chocolate Cream Stout
Fat Heads Brewery (North Olmsted, Ohio)
This chocolate cream stout, “the golden ticket to luscious indulgence,” is made with Belgian dark chocolate and Madagascar vanilla beans, with roasted malt and caramel malt to round out the flavors.
DuClaw Brewing Co. (Baltimore, Maryland)
Here’s a chocolate stout with a little something extra—chipotle peppers. Roasted malt, chocolate, sweet, and espresso notes make for a balanced beer with a spicy pepper bite.
Chocolate Ale With Raspberry
Boulevard Brewing Co. (Kansas City, Missouri)
This specialty ale uses rare chocolate by renowned Chef and Chocolatier Christopher Elbow from Kansas City and is a reimagined version of their past brew, Chocolate Ale. This version uses raspberries and cacao nibs to achieve a bright, rich flavor.
Dubious Black Chocolate Stout
North Peak Brewing Co. (Traverse City, Michigan)
A combination of rich specialty malts and chocolate gives Dubious its undoubtedly chocolate flavor, and it’s further spiced with a generous helping of hops. This black chocolate stout is available year-round in stubby bottles.
Black Hand Chocolate Milk Stout
Speakeasy Ales & Lagers (San Francisco, California)
Black Hand is brewed with Ghanaian and Ecuadorian-roasted cacao nibs from TCHO chocolate in Berkeley, California. Dark and chocolate malts also contribute to its flavor, and the milk sugar addition creates a creamy, smooth body. As one of the beers in Speakeasy’s Limited series, it comes out in January and sticks around until March.
Banana Split Chocolate Stout
Thomas Creek Brewery (Greenville, South Carolina)
This beer is surprisingly dry and drinkable for a stout that’s brewed to taste like an ice cream treat. The addition of flaked oats creates ice-cream creaminess and pale, black patent, chocolate, and crystal malts create its toffee and caramel notes.
Westbrook Brewing Company (Nashville, Tennessee)
Mexican Cake is an imperial stout that is conditioned on habaneros, cinnamon, vanilla, and cacao nibs. It is the first beer they brewed in their Anniversary series. Now it makes an annual appearance to celebrate the brewery’s anniversary every May.
Chocolate Beer Recipes for Homebrewers
We would be remiss if we didn’t share some of our amazing recipes for chocolate-flavored beers! Below are some of our favorites.