AboutDavid Nilsen, Author at PorchDrinking.com
“I was absolutely terrified to walk through the door,” said the co-founder of Rabid Brewing in Homewood, Illinois.
She didn’t need to be.
Chocolate beer is nothing new. Brewers have been throwing cacao nibs into stouts for years now. But with a growing recognition among brewers of the flavor potential of fine cacao in various forms, the possibilities for how chocolate can be used in brewing are expanding rapidly. And that’s exciting.
I started a podcast in 2020 called Bean to Barstool, which uses craft beer and bean to bar chocolate as dual lenses for exploring the world of flavor. I wrote in the initial media announcement for the show that people should “think of it as a dream journal written in the complex alphabet of beer and the eloquent vocabulary of chocolate.”
Warped Wing Brewing Company’s taproom on an uneven brick side street in downtown Dayton, Ohio, is pretty quiet for early December. The hulking, 80-year-old concrete building that once housed the Buckeye Iron & Brassworks foundry is normally humming with beer drinkers, and on the early December Saturday when the brewery’s beloved Whiskey Rebellion bourbon barrel-aged Imperial Stout is released, the cavernous facility is always packed with celebratory fans. A line begins early that morning waiting for bottle allotments and extends through the cracked cement of the parking lot, past the building, and around the corner of the block.
This year’s release, of course, is different, though the enthusiasm for it is as vibrant as ever.
“Brewers like to craft things, so we ask them, ‘What is it you’re looking to do?’”
Whatever the answer, Keith Seiz likely has good advice to offer any brewer or distiller looking to incorporate honey. Seiz is a representative of the National Honey Board, and—along with honey sommelier Alison Conklin—recently presented information on honey beer and spirits for a group of industry writers and editors.
Little Fish Brewing Company is coming to Dayton, OH.
When the news broke last week, beer fans across the Gem City let loose a celebratory cheer. The Athens, OH-based brewery known for its mixed-fermentation sour and farmhouse-style beers (they just won their first GABF medal for Cleft) has been distributing bottles to the Dayton market for years and has long been one of the most respected breweries in the state. Still, the two-and-a-half-hour drive along Ohio’s winding back roads was always a lot for Dayton beer fans who wanted to visit the Athens taproom. Now, Little Fish will be just a short walk from downtown.
Last week, Lock 27 Brewing in Dayton, Ohio, won their first ever medal from the Great American Beer Festival for their Wolk (pronounced “Volk”) Witbier. But that wasn’t really the plan. They’d submitted the refreshing wheat beer and a handful of others mostly to get constructive feedback from the world-class beer experts who judge at GABF. Soon enough, an opportunity for growth turned into a chance to celebrate.
What if the money you spent on beer also supported deserving causes in your community? That’s the question the founders of Lady Justice Brewing in Aurora, Colorado, asked themselves a few years ago when they were working in the non-profit sector. Kate Power, Betsy Lay, and Jen Cuesta were having a beer after work, commiserating about the lack of funds for the causes they believed in. What if their beer money could help?
Wolf’s Ridge Brewing head brewer Chris Davison found out his brewery had won two medals at the Great American Beer Festival in the most 2020 way possible: over Zoom while getting his daughter ready for bed. The Columbus, Ohio, brewery’s team had a company Zoom call going while the awards were announced virtually from Denver. Chris had bedtime duties, and parenting supersedes brewing.
Oktoberfest started as a wedding celebration in Bavaria in 1810. Two centuries later in 2009, Great Lakes Brewing Company brewmaster Mark Hunger tied the knot and poured his brewery’s Oktoberfest lager at his own autumn wedding reception.
“Picking the beer for the wedding was a no-brainer. From what I can remember, it was a hit,” he says with a laugh. “We went through a keg.”
Wolf’s Ridge Brewing in Columbus, OH has claimed many an Ohio beer drinker’s heart since opening in 2013 and their new core beer celebrates the agriculture of this state that calls itself “The Heart of It All.”
Orpheus Brewing in Atlanta, Georgia, is launching a new paid internship program to improve racial inclusion and equity within the craft beer industry. The Leadership Diversity Program will hire one applicant at a time for six-month periods and train them in all aspects of brewery operations, with the goal of those graduating from the program going on to leadership careers in the craft beer world.
When craft beer fans hear the term “farmhouse ale,” we usually think of Belgian Saison and French Bière de Garde. A new book by Norwegian author Lars Marius Garshol expands our understanding of farmhouse brewing traditions. Historical Brewing Techniques: The Lost Art of Farmhouse Brewing (Brewers Publications, 2020) digs into the history and variety of farmhouse ales throughout Scandinavia and the Baltic region.
Ohio ordered all bars to close for on-premise consumption on March 15, 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Barrel House, a beer bar and bottle shop in downtown Dayton, chose to close completely to protect customers and staff. When they announced they were reopening for carryout on May 1, they showcased their irreverent sense of humor with the very first item on their list of customer guidelines: “Everyone wears a mask or fucks off.”
“Some folks didn’t think that was as funny as we did,” said Gus Stathes, who co-owns the bar with his wife, Sara Stathes.
Munich Dunkel might seem like an unusual style to lead a brewery’s portfolio in 2020, but Devil Wind Brewing Dankel Dunkel is thwarting expectations in Xenia, Ohio.
This small brewery was founded in 2018 and takes its name from a devastating F5 tornado that leveled much of the town in April 1974, killing 33 people. Xenia rebuilt, and Devil Wind carries on the town’s legacy of both heritage and progress.
It’s Cinco de Mayo!
Today you get to drink plenty of beer, chow down on some Mexican carryout and unfriend every single person who makes a terrible Taco Tuesday joke.
While there are tons of craft breweries out there brewing crisp, refreshing Mexican Lagers and big, luxurious, Mexican chocolate-inspired Imperial Stouts (and you should totally check those out), why not celebrate with one of these beers inspired by Mexican culinary flavors and traditions?
Lori Rice is here to save us from lackluster beer bread.
In many beer bread recipes, the brew itself is an afterthought. The recipe will recommend adding “beer”—type unspecified—in place of water, and since most people will reach for a light lager in these moments, they might as well have just used water in the first place.
Rice’s new book Beer Bread: Brew-Infused Breads, Rolls, Biscuits, Muffins, and More (Countryman Press) tears down the tyranny of mediocre beer bread recipes and offers over 60 exciting alternatives in which beer plays a significant role in the finished flavor.
As breweries across the country close their doors to wait out the Coronavirus crisis, Lady Justice Brewing Company is planning a grand opening.
This Colorado brewery has lived a nomadic existence since its founding in 2015 and finally closed on a new permanent taproom in Aurora in February 2020, weeks before the virus changed American life. Founders Betsy Lay, Kate Power and Jen Cuesta planned to open their doors on April 18, but now the trio is exploring what it means to launch a taproom when no one is allowed to visit.
Amid the familiar IPAs, stouts, and lagers on the tap list at Eudora Brewing Company in Dayton, Ohio, sits an outlier, a Belgian charmer full of muscular grace. Le Cheval Magique is a Belgian Golden Strong Ale that balances expressive yeast character and formidable strength with deceptive drinkability. This “magic horse” is light on its hooves, but at 8.5% ABV, you’d best treat it with respect if you don’t want to get thrown from the saddle.
“Brewing is really in our blood,” says Ron Abbott, founder and brewer at Denver’s Seedstock Brewery. His brewery offers classic Czech-style lagers and periodically revives obscure historical styles rarely brewed on these shores, keeping his familial traditions alive.
Land-Grant Brewing Company in Columbus, Ohio, has launched a new beer celebrating the career of astronaut and Columbus resident Dr. Katharine D. Sullivan.
While Dr. Sullivan had been to the Land-Grant taproom before this partnership, she’s not normally a big beer drinker, says Land-Grant co-founder and Creative Director Walt Keys. He points out though that the accomplished astronaut is “always up for trying new things.”