While it’s Champagne and pink wine that gets top billing on Valentine’s Day, craft beer is just as deserving of space on the table of your romantic dinner — or, since the holiday is on Saturday this year, maybe your brunch. Here are four craft brews from local producers that are worth fussing over with your date.
Rose Royce — Beachwood Brewing
The Long Beach brewpub best known for hop-forward IPAs and boozy imperial stouts — and the groan-worthy puns in the beers’ names — actually brews a special beer for St. Valentine’s Day: the rose-petal infused saison Rose Royce. The Belgian-style farmhouse ale is earthy and floral with a flirtatious spice from rye malt, a piquant yeast strain and the addition of traditional brewing ingredient grains of paradise. Both Beachwood locations are also hosting a special V-day menu with optional beer pairings. Check out their Facebook page for details.
The Nothing — Smog City Brewery
Chocolate is mandatory for Valentine's Day celebrations, but the treats are notoriously difficult to pair with wine. Make things simpler by combining the chocolate and the libation! The Nothing is a double chocolate imperial stout from Smog City brewery, and it packs a deep, roasty chocolate flavor into a velvety beer that’s made for slowly swirling in a snifter. While it’s a natural pairing for a box of chocolates, the beer — inspired by the villain of the '80s film "The Neverending Story" — also matches with a grilled steak or lamb.
2020 IPA — Golden Road Brewing
Hop lovers don’t have to be left out of the Valentine's Day fun, just grab a few cans of the latest entry in Golden Road’s Custom IPA Series. As a “red IPA” 2020 has a more assertive malt body than a typical India pale ale, and the mix of hops used give the brew an interesting melange of fruity and earthy flavors. The cans make it a perfect accompaniment to a picnic or hike with your lover, and the balance of malty and hoppy flavors make it a versatile food-pairing brew (it is particularly good with aged cheeses).
Jardinier — The Bruery
The first new year-round beer from Orange County’s The Bruery in quite some time is now available, and Jardinier is their take on a light and drinkable table beer. The beer may be under 5% alcohol, but it is packed with flavor from a judicious use of European Noble hops. Instead of the pine, citrus, or tropical fruit notes common in so many hoppy craft beers; these Old World hops have a more subtle herbal quality that’s perhaps best described as “zesty.” Jardinier has a floral aroma balanced by the spicy Belgian yeast and set off with a crisp finish. Have a romantic brunch (or even a breakfast in bed) planned for your honey on Valentine’s Day? Jardinier is both approachable and interesting, and it goes with avocado toast. What more could you ask for?