If I could live the greatest sexual fantasy in the world, it would combine the romance of beer and chocolate on Valentine’s Day with the seductive lust of oysters and stout by the time we rolled into Fat Tuesday.
Cupid always seems to ignite subtle titillation with those potent little arrows. How easy is it to cave-in to one’s natural desire for the sensual and hedonistic with each stab of infatuation from that innocent-looking cherub? Any high-caliber beer lover knows there is no escaping seduction which touches the skin and nourishes a sinuous body. It’s like Kilty Pleasure and Intercourse wrapped together: two luscious beery diversions in one short Philly road trip.
Seduction Day sets the stage with a little nudge from The Beer Soap Company’s pampering cleansing bars, made of world-class beer like Young’s Double Chocolate Stout or Delirium Tremens Strong Pale Ale. My personal favorite infuses Brooklyn Red Lager into the formula, a beer locally crafted in New York. Brooklyn Red is drenched in palm and coconut oils, Theobroma cacao butter, and essential oils of Cedarwood and Patchouli. Aromas of vanilla, smoky incense and jasmine cast a seductive spell. As you enjoy your body dip, drench your tongue with the boozy espresso flavors of Man Full of Trouble Porter or the chocolate and cherry essence of Sexy Beast Imperial Stout from Dock Street.
As an evening kickstarter, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in nearby Delaware stands equipped to further the intoxication with Tweason’ale, a tantalizing aperitif. Like most Extreme Beers in the DFH portfolio, Tweason’ incorporates a lot of muscle into this crisp, dry palate-pleaser. Crafted with dark sweet sorghum syrup and Buckwheat honey, this alluring ale delivers an earthy, fruit-tart flavor from the addition of strawberries grown at Fifer Orchards, a 2400-acre farm estate in central Delaware. As an added bonus, Tweason’ale is gluten-free, by nature of its ingredients, and sinks you into gentle euphoria with only 6% alcohol.
Oskar Blues of Colorado wants to share in your pleasure with Old Chub Stick, a 15 SPF lip balm made with Old Chub Scottish Style Ale, oils of macadamia and almond, beeswax, cocoa, and other essential oils. We know that men don’t read instructions, but the ladies will notice the details, “Twist the knob and rub the chub.”
Twisting into sensory pleasure is easy to do with a first course of beer and DiBruno’s Brothers Gourmet Artisanal Cheeses. DiBruno’s has four locations throughout Philadelphia, providing an easy avenue for a beer and cheese pairing. Ash covered Valencay, a chevre cheese from the Loire Valley in France, makes an effortless pairing with Stoudt’s Kölsch Style Ale, crafted of red wheat and Hallertau hops. If you crave a funky, earth-touched cheese-and-beer duo, Epoisses de Bourgogne cow cheese will coat your throat with its soft, creamy texture while Voodoo love Child from Meadville scrubs the palate with its 10.5% heat, aged on passion fruit, raspberries and cherries. A spicy edge lingers with the ardorinducing piquancy of Curacao orange peel, coriander, and imported exotic zest.
Preparing for the heat of pleasure takes calculated practice, and nothing quite completes the “appetizer” as well as oysters paired with stout. Blended with subtle traces of brine in the shell, oysters bring out the full flavor in a good stout, whether it be the original Oyster, Russian Imperial, or Oatmeal styles. And nothing merges as well as a Brewer’s Reserve or Specialty Brew – an inviting mystery beer whose character gains strength and roundness from cellaring. Exceptional… memorable… aged in earthiness.
Indulge in flavors from your personal cache with a bottle of Exit 1 Bayshore Oyster Stout, crafted by Flying Fish Brewing Company of Cherry Hill. Light and creamy in the mouth, this dense, onyx refresher hits a power play with roasted malts, chocolate and coffee, accented by a briny edge and touch of anise. Tiny by Weyerbacher stands firm as another well-matched option, a Belgian-inspired Imperial Stout of 11.8% ABV. The decadence of molasses, vanilla, bittersweet chocolate, French roast coffee and a myriad of spices complements oysters in an unexpected way, while heat builds throughout your body, sending mild pulsations down your spine.
With so much intensity, a palate cleanser from the Bent Spoon in Princeton prepares you for the main event. You may find such delights as Peachy Nugget Nectar Sorbet or Golden Honey Monkey ice cream – but don’t pass on the Weyerbacher Caramel Heathen if it’s on the menu.
Slip down to the cellar at the Farmers’ Cabinet in Philadelphia for your choice of at least 5 artisanal styles, hand-crafted by brewer Terry Hawbaker. These Mystery Beers are aged in Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels or French oak seasoned with white or red wine. French Country Ale with Brett and Lacto is an able temptress when married with a light entrée of Wild Striped Bass. If Lamb Roulade is your pleasure, whet the palate with D’Rye Field Stout, a Belgian Dark Ale with indecent layers of caramel and fruit, like a merging of sex-atmidnight with Farmhouse Ale. Simply speaking, the experience is orgasmic. If a spicy smoker is your style, delve into Rauch-N-Roggen, layered with breadiness, herbal accents, clove and peat. Savor the atmosphere.
For the grand finale, indulge your lover with milk chocolate and lightly whipped cream, drenched in Rapture, a 6.7% Wild American Ale from Weyerbacher. Fermented and aged in pinot noir wine barrels, the tart flavors of cranberry, cherry, raspberry and wood dance with provocative effervescence, while lingering like an ancient Bacchanalian feast on the tongue.