AboutDavid Nilsen, Author at PorchDrinking.com
In this episode of the Bean to Barstool beer and chocolate podcast, New Zealand beer and chocolate journalist Luke Owen Smith interviews Phoebe Preuss of Living KoKo. They talk about Living KoKo’s relationship with Samoan cacao farmers and cacao supplier Savai’i Koko. They also discuss Penina, Living KoKo’s non-alcoholic chocolate beer brewed in collaboration with Brewicolo and made with cacao and hopped with Citra, Amarillo and Ekuanot hops.
While Stouts and other dark beer styles can be enjoyed any time of year, their comforting roast flavors of chocolate, coffee, toast, and burnt caramel provide a cozy accompaniment to the winter season. Many non-alcoholic (NA) producers are brewing NA Stouts both as seasonal releases and year-round core offerings. Brewing these styles without alcohol presents unique production challenges.
Bean to Barstool Podcast | Learning/Unlearning: Agronomist Sarah Bharath on Unlearning What We Think We KnowJanuary 24, 2024 | David Nilsen
I never come away from a conversation with cacao agronomist Sarah Bharath without learning something, and it’s probably because Sarah never comes away from anything without learning. Her curiosity and excitement to learn drive the very important work she does working with cacao farmers to better understand the ecosystems of their cacao farms, how to work with the land and its resident microbes, and how to adapt fermentation practices to a changing environment and climate. For Sarah, learning and teaching form a symbiotic relationship, each thriving best in the other’s company. Cacao lavado is a great example (more on that in a bit).
Vanilla is a very familiar flavor for most of us. It’s so ubiquitous, in fact, that the word is used as a pejorative for anything that is commonplace and mundane. But that’s not being fair to this fascinating tropical spice, which can display a wide range of expressive aromas and flavors, and can be used in unique ways throughout world cuisine. In North America and Europe, it’s mostly associated with desserts, pastries, and other sweet treats, to the point that vanilla is often taken to be sweet on its own. That assumption is turned upside down in many other global food traditions however, in which vanilla can be used in savory or spicy dishes. Its heady but gentle profile allows it to work in support of a variety of other flavors.
And it’s of interest to this podcast because vanilla is used so extensively in craft chocolate and, often, in craft beer as well.
Today’s episode is a look back at my favorite beers and chocolates of 2023. You’ll also hear from several friends and colleagues in the beer and chocolate worlds who share their own favorites from the last year as well.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is entering the growing non-alcoholic (NA) beer space with their new Trail Pass series, which hits shelves this month with two initial beers: Golden and IPA. The iconic brewery known for standard alcoholic brands like Pale Ale, Celebration Ale, and Hazy Little Thing debuted their new NA offerings at Denver’s Great American Beer Festival in September, and expects the beers to hit shelves across their full distribution footprint by the beginning of January.
Monsoon Chocolate is making bean to bar chocolate in the desert climate of Tucson, Arizona. It’s not a region we might think of as a hotspot for craft chocolate, but as founder Adam Krantz explains, the southwest has a strong historical claim to cacao, and he wanted to honor that heritage while also pushing the boundaries of flavor with unique regional ingredients like chiltepin chilis or mesquite.
Funkytown Brewery founders Rich Bloomfield, Zack Day and Greg Williams met in 4th grade in Chicago and grew up together. They went to historically Black Grambling State University in Louisiana together, and returned to the Windy City together to begin their lives and careers. While attending parties, backyard barbecues, baby showers and other get-togethers in their twenties, they realized something else together: they were the only Black people bringing craft beer to these events.
Max Gandy, perhaps better known in the craft chocolate world as Dame Cacao, was one of the first chocolate educators I started following on Instagram many years ago now when I was first getting into the scene. With her Dame Cacao website and various podcasts over the years, she’s been a calm and knowledgeable voice within craft chocolate for nearly a decade now. She’s also incredibly well traveled, and has spent time at many cacao origins.
Today’s episode is a break from the normal format of Bean to Barstool. This episode doesn’t look any specific beers or chocolates. Instead, host David Nilsen talks with his sister, Shan Escobar, about the experience of interacting with flavor, how they both approach that, what it satisfies for each of them, and how that experience is informed by their strange religious childhoods. It’s about flavor as icon and ritual. This is a conversation made all the more poignant during the holidays, when we gather with family and friends and, as Shan says, “the veil is thin.” Listen in on this candid, vulnerable conversation.
Firetree Chocolate in the UK has been making single origin dark chocolate from primarily Pacific island origins since launching in 2018, and they’re among my favorite single origin makers. As much as I love their complex bars, I also love their beautiful packaging, with its swirling colors and gold etching. Their motto is Rich Volcanic Chocolate, referencing the volcanic soil of the islands where their cacao is grown.
Ohio craft breweries earned 19 medals and one Brewery of the Year award at the 2023 Great American Beer Festival, a new record for the state. The list of Ohio GABF winners included stalwarts like Fat Head’s, Hoppin’ Frog and Brink, as well as newcomers like Narrow Path, Eudora and Seventh Son.
Third Eye Brewing was the second name called during the 2023 Great American Beer Festival awards ceremony, signaling the start of a momentous day for the small brewery from Sharonville, a northern suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. Their beer Mounds of Importance—brewed in collaboration with nearby Narrow Path Brewing—took home silver in the Collaboration Competition, the first category awarded. After brewmaster Kelly Montgomery and his wife Maureen, along with brewers Andrew Moore and Tom Argo, accepted the medal with their friends from Narrow Path on beer’s biggest stage, they barely had time to return to their seats before hearing their names again.
Beer writer Beth Demmon has written a book called The Beer Lover’s Guide to Cider: American Ciders for Craft Beer Fans to Explore, published on September 12 by Mango Publishing. The book explores the potentially overwhelming variety of the modern cider scene through the lens of beer, relating cider varieties to major flavor groupings from craft beer. The format Beth chose for her guide allows readers to approach cider on their own terms, using familiar flavor references.
Esteemed beer writer Beth Demmon has written a book for beer lovers who are curious about the growing craft cider movement. The Beer Lover’s Guide to Cider: American Ciders for Craft Beer Fans to Explore (Mango Publishing, September 12) demystifies the potentially overwhelming variety of the modern cider scene through the lens of beer, relating cider varieties to major flavor groupings familiar to craft beer fans.
There are some excellent chocolate beers being poured at the Great American Beer Festival 2023! Ranging from rich dessert concepts to beers highlighting cacao in unique ways, here are the chocolate beers you need to try when you’re at the festival.
The Great American Beer Festival is all about trying some of the best beers in the country, but what if you’re trying to be mindful of how much alcohol you consume, or aren’t drinking at all? No worries! There are dozens of delicious non-alcoholic beers, hop waters and other NA options at the Great American Beer Festival 2023. Here’s our guide to all the options.
The arrival of fall means the arrival of fall seasonal beer styles. Fortunately for us, fall beer styles like pumpkin beer and Oktoberfest can pair great with craft chocolate, and today we’re going to talk about some of my favorites and recommendations to check out. Pumpkin ales, Märzen, Festbier, and even fresh hop and wet hop beers can be paired with craft chocolate. Listen in to learn which bean to bar chocolate bars will work best with each seasonal style to get the most out of pairing fall beer and chocolate.
Ohio is a fantastic craft beer state, with over 420 craft breweries that together make the Buckeye State the sixth highest in craft beer production in the country. Numerous Ohio breweries will be pouring their best beers at this year’s Great American Beer Festiva. Here’s our guide to the Ohio beers you can taste at the Great American Beer Festival 2023!
Hazy IPAs have been the most popular style in craft beer for half a decade now, so if the nascent non-alcoholic (NA) segment of craft was going to gain a foothold, it was critical for this style to be a big part of that movement. Fortunately, numerous NA producers are now brewing excellent Hazies, and the style seems to adapt well to the NA format. Non-alcoholic Hazy IPA is thriving, and drinkers are appreciating the chance to enjoy their favorite hoppy style without the effects of ethanol.