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The 10 best chocolate beers for cacao enthusiasts

Chocolate and beer do in fact work wonders together. Here are some options you should fill your fridge with

Heady stout
wilkernet/Pixabay

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.

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
Founders

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout

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.

A can of Maui CoCoNut beer.
Maui Brewing

Maui Brewing CoCoNut Porter

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.

Yuengling's Hershey's Chocolate Porter.
Yuengling

Yuengling Hershey’s Chocolate Porter

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.

Samuel Smith Organic Chocolate Stout bottle.
Samuel Smith

Samuel Smith Organic Chocolate Stout

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.

Three Creeks FivePine Chocolate Porter
Three Creeks Brewing

Three Creeks FivePine Chocolate Porter

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.

Prairie Artisan Ales Prairie Bomb!
Prairie Artisan Ales

Prairie Bomb!

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.

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Southern Tier Choklat
Southern Tier Brewing

Southern Tier Choklat

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.

Oskar Blues Death by Coconut Porter.
Oskar Blues

Oskar Blues Death by Coconut Porter

This porter is hit with generous amounts of chocolate and coconut, a duo that does amazing things together, especially in beer form.

Odell Lugene Stout.
Odell Brewing

Odell Lugene Chocolate Milk Stout

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.

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Stone Xocoveza Tres Leches
Stone Brewing

Stone Xocoveza Tres Leches

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.

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Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
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