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Do Valentine’s Day Right This Year: Add Beer to the Mix

Valentine’s Day is all about love. It’s also a holiday single people love to loathe. But there’s a win-win solution: Add beer to the equation! Just like the days of giving paper Valentines to your kindergarten classmates (when love was gross and cooties were rampant), give the gift of beer to everyone, single or not, and watch the holiday cheer unfold.

And if you do have a beer-loving partner — or just an old friend willing to celebrate Valentine’s Day with you and some brews — starting a new beer-filled holiday tradition just makes sense.

Perhaps the most obvious reason for introducing beer into the Valentine’s Day equation is that it helps loosen (and sometimes shake) things up. Get one or two brews in, and everyone begins to feel the love, even if you’ve only just met the person next to you at the bar.

But it provides some “liquid courage” in other ways, too. If you’re on a Valentine’s Day date with a new love interest, nerves can set in, leading to a potentially disastrous time. Share a beer or two, and watch your nerves (and your date’s) fade away. And if your Valentine’s Day date is a longtime love, beer just adds more chemistry to the mix.

Listen to the Experts

Don’t just take our word for it: Tri-Valley’s brewers agree. Two of the experts behind the Beer Trail’s tasty brews have provided some great tips to kick-start your new tradition.

Joel Pelote at Working Man Brewing Co. in Livermore says that the way to anyone’s heart on Valentine’s Day is through the following:

l Knowing the best beer to buy your date/partner: “[It should be] something that you can sip slowly and enjoy in the moment, like a rich, luxurious chocolate stout.”

l Selecting the perfect gift for a beer lover: Pelote suggests “a pair of quality beer glasses; something that makes that nice ‘clink’ sound when you toast.”

l Considering the beer-flavored candy/food route: Pelote recalls a beer ice cream float equipped with a caramel-beer sauce “that was amazing!”

l Taking your date to a special end-of-night place: Consider “your favorite tap room with low, romantic lighting — and, of course, beer,” Pelote says.

Stephen Sartori, brewmaster at Altamont Beer Works in Livermore, has some suggestions of his own.

When it comes to choosing the prime beer for your date, Sartori says purchasing his or her favorite style is the best option — and make sure you’re certain. “In my opinion, as a craft beer enthusiast, it’s pretty awful receiving beer as a present and not wanting to drink it at all,” he said. “Throwing beer down the drain is never a good thing.”

But if you’d rather err on the side of caution and choose a beer more suited to the occasion (and the holiday), Sartori suggests a flavored stout, “something rich and chocolaty.” At Altamont, for instance, the “Nutty Operator” flows on tap and boasts a peanut butter oatmeal flavor. “It’s like drinking a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup,” says Sartori. And with flavored beers like these, he suggests a candy truffle with an imperial stout filling to complete the Valentine’s Day deliciousness.

So don’t just take our word for it: The brew gods believe in beer for Valentine’s Day, too. And who knows? Maybe it’ll land you a second date (or a first, for all our single folks out there). Learning to love February 14 is easy; just grab a beer.