Valentine's day came and went last month. As I've mentioned many times, in Japan women give chocolates to men on Valentine's, and the men reciprocate on "White Day" a month later. There was no way for Ritsuko to top last years amazing success, so she kept it simple this year, with a duo of chocolate-flavoured beers from a local brewery in Okayama. They are both very good as beers, and do not come across as a ploy or a stunt at all.
The dark beer is great. It has a clear, strong cacao flavour with a pleasing bitterness that meshes well with the burnt-sugar tones of the beer itself. It's not sweet or cloying at all, but just brings a very filling, mature taste. People sometimes describe stouts as having a chocolate tone, and this beer plays up that flavour with a well-balanced dose of the real thing. This beer I would be happy to drink on a regular basis if I could.
The light beer is a nice full-bodied beer with a bit of cacao butter for flavouring. The effect is rather like that of a weissbier but with less acidity and a more even, milky tone. It's a good beer but the chocolate flavour is muted enough that it would be easy to miss unless you knew to look for it. It's a pleasant and flavourful beer but not as distinctive as the dark one, perhaps.