Valentine’s Day is a day of celebrating love. It’s important to celebrate who you love that day, and of course foods and drinks that you love too. Cheers!
Love comes in many forms and has different meanings for everyone. For some, love is watching a new Netflix show with your significant other, or treating your best friend to a lunch date. Love can even be cooking your favorite meal as a means of self-care, or enjoying a happy hour with your girlfriend or boyfriend.
However people perceive love, it’s normal to gravitate towards food and drink while being around loved ones. Food and drink have been celebrated throughout history – it naturally brings people together and invites you to gather and bond with one another. When eating and drinking with others you are nourishing your body and mind, and of course, spending time with someone you love.
Next time you are out at a restaurant, or cooking at home, there are some foods proven to stimulate your sense of desire more than other foods. These types of foods are called aphrodisiacs. Popular foods classified as aphrodisiacs are avocados, vanilla, coffee, chili peppers, honey, salmon, watermelon, chocolate, asparagus, figs, oysters, and much more.
Alcoholic beverages like beer and wine, are also classified as aphrodisiacs because they boost your confidence and put you at ease in a social situation. But beware, alcohol may only serve as an aphrodisiac in moderation!
So what better way is there to put you in the Valentine’s Day mood than combining love for people, food, and beer all together?
Whether you’re planning to have a night in to avoid the cold weather, or going out for a meal with a date or significant other, here are a few aphrodisiac foods and local craft beer pairings to try something different this Valentine’s Day.
Avocados and Pilsner
Health benefits: Avocados have high levels of folic acid and B9, which can help the body produce high levels of energy. So yes, guac might be extra, but it can help give you that extra boost of energy.
Beer pairing: Whether you are making avocado toast, or mashing it up as guacamole, a pilsner is a great choice to pair with avocados because the smoothness of the pilsner compliments the smooth texture of avocados.
Suggested pilsners: Tracks Again – Cinderlands Beer Co;
Penn Pilsner – Penn Brewery; Killapilz – Voodoo Brewing
Chili Peppers and IPA
Health benefits: Bring on the heat! Spicy foods like chili peppers contain chemical properties that open up your senses, increase your blood circulation, and can actually raise your body temperature if the pepper is super hot.
Beer pairing: If you are planning to eat a meal on the spicier side, like Thai, IPAs pair well with spicy foods. Given their hoppy, bitter flavor, IPAs neutralize, and can even help tame the heat rather than exacerbate it- your taste buds might thank you later.
Suggested IPAs: General Braddock’s IPA – Brew Gentleman; Oceanic IPA – Allegheny City Brewing Co; Chinookie IPA – Full Pint Brewing
Chocolate and Stout
Health benefits: Chocolate lovers, rejoice! Did you know consuming chocolate (in moderation) has many health benefits? It contains supplements that stimulate excitement and boosts your well-being. Dark chocolate is also proven to be beneficial for your heart and helps your iron levels.
Beer pairing: Chocolate pairs best with a stout beer since stouts often are brewed with coffee and/or chocolate to give the beer a darker hue and rich flavor. Chocolate and stouts also have a balance of bitter and sweet flavors, which makes it the perfect pair.
Suggested stouts: Black Clouds – Dancing Gnome;
Mexican Coffee – Brew Gentleman; Sanctuary – Helltown Brewing
Oysters and Dry Stout
Health benefits: Oysters contain high levels of zinc, and dopamine, which both help increase the brain’s happiness and desire. They also contain high amounts of manganese, vitamin D, and zinc, which all contribute to health bones.
Beer pairing: To balance out the brininess and saltiness from oysters, try pairing a dry or roasted stout. These stouts have a more grainy taste to them with a fluffy mouthfeel, which makes it a nice balance to the sharp taste of any oyster.
Suggested stouts: O’Reilly’s Stout – Sly Fox Brewing;
Irish Dry Stout – Four Points Brewing; Bona Fide Snug Stout – Bonafide Beer Co.
Pine Nuts and Pale Ale
Health benefits: Pine nuts are energy boosting because they are high in protein, iron, and magnesium, and can reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease. They are a key ingredient to the popular Italian sauce, pesto. Pesto is a mixture of pine nuts, basil (also an aphrodisiac), olive oil, garlic and other herbs used to put on pasta.
Beer pairing: Try a pale ale if pasta pesto is on the menu for your Valentine’s Day meal. The piney, hoppy flavors in a pale ale accentuate the herby flavors in pine nuts, which really give pesto it’s distinct taste.
Suggested pale ales: Lustra – Dancing Gnome;
Pittsburgh Pale Ale – Hop Farm Brewing Co;
Little Dude Pale Ale – Yellow Bridge Brewing
Salmon and Saison
Health benefits: Salmon is considered a ‘super food’ because it contains omega-3 fatty acids, which is critical for good heart health. It also is a high protein fish, and can help you lose weight
Beer pairing: Salmon pairs well with a saison. Saisons have a fruity, spicy flavor to them, and some types can have a pretty dry aftertaste to them- almost like a dry white wine.
Suggested saisons: Dramatic Escape – Coven Brewing; Trial By Fire – Hitchhiker Brewing;
Foeder Saison – Trace Brewing
Strawberries and Wheat Beer
Health benefits: For those who are trying to dodge a cold this Valentine’s Day or looking for a healthier dessert option, and eat some strawberries. They contain a ton of vitamin C, which strengthens your immune system and helps build chemical neurotransmitters in your brain.
Beer pairing: Strawberries go hand-in-hand with a wheat beer because they are both light and refreshing. Wheat beers often have a fruity, and ever so slightly clove taste to them, which balances out the sweetness of a strawberry.
Suggested wheat beers: Witte – East End Brewing; Uneven Streets – Old Thunder Brewing Company; Laissez-Faire – Necromancer Brewing
(Note: some suggested beers are seasonal and might not be available around Valentine’s Day. If you spot a beer that sparks your interest, check the brewery’s website to see if it is available!)