Keep your box of chocolates. If you want to make a beer lover happy on Valentine's Day the Yards Brewing Company of Philadelphia, PA has a beer for you. Yards Love Stout is their February-March limited release just in time for Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day. Yards Brewing was established in the City of Brotherly Love in 1994, and since then has been producing a number of outstanding beers with their focus on ale and traditional British beer styles.
Love Stout is now a dry stout by style, but when this beer was first brewed it was actually an oyster stout, which is a sub style of dry or Irish stout. Brewing a beer with oysters might sound like a crazy idea, but oysters and other shellfish actually go very well with stouts. The addition of oysters do not really lend a whole lot of flavor, but do add to the mouth feel and body of the beer, at least in my experience with the oyster stouts I have enjoyed.
Pubs, taverns, and bars use to give out free oysters to keep their patrons drinking, and the paring of oysters with stouts and porters is has been going on for centuries. The salty, briney flavors of the oyster is the perfect foil to the dry, roasty, coffee flavors of a good stout. Oysters, chocolate, and beer on Valentine's Day? Sounds right to me.
Yards Love Stout pours to a deep, ebony color, with a creamy, white head and a moderate amount of carbonation. The nose on this beer is very nice with some good dark chocolate, and roasty aroma paired with some grassy hop aroma. The palate is soft on the tongue with lots of good dark chocolate, coffee, and roasty flavors. This beer finishes with more good dark malt and coffee flavor up front, then ends with a dry and roasty finish that lingers.
A really well done example of dry stout, Yards Love Stout is an excellent beer to enjoy more than a few of. Its 4.5% abv, making it a nice session beer, and is a very food friendly beer as well. I would match with one with anything from a nice steak, to lobster, of course oysters, to chocolates, or any other rich desert. It retails for about $8-$9 a six pack in markets where Yards beers are sold, and well worth trying. Excellent beer from an impressive Philadelphia brewery. For more information about this beer and Yards Brewing, visit their site at: http://www.yardsbrewing.com/