Long before crafty brewers experimented with its flavors, chocolate was consumed primarily as a beverage, which was thicker, richer and spicier than the hot chocolates and cocoas we know. After you've tasted a chocolate stout, you might wonder why this evolution took so long.
There are two common ways to incorporate chocolate into a brew: add it during the finishing process, or incorporate it in the main ingredients. Rogue Ales' Chocolate Stout combines chocolate malt with chocolate, resulting in a mellow flavor that they recommend pairing with desserts [source: Rogue]. Brooklyn Brewery, Sam Adams and Wells & Young's also make complex chocolate beers.
Don't overlook beer's potential in cooking; Guinness and other stouts are often added to chocolate desserts. As chef and food author Nigella Lawson told National Public Radio, Guinness creates an exceptionally dense, moist chocolate cake with a "resonant, ferrous tang. It's kind of a grown-up cake" [source: National Public Radio].
Try pairing your favorite beers and chocolates. Check your local event listings for classes or tastings, or experiment on your own.