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AboutDavid Nilsen, Author at PorchDrinking.com

Posts By David Nilsen

Bean to Barstool Podcast | One Cacao Tree with Raven Hanna

May 8, 2024 |

Raven Hanna lives on the big island of Hawai’i, and her backyard is a picture of what most of us see when we hear the phrase tropical paradise. She has a PhD in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, and she loves science, but she also loves her senses, and the opportunity to immerse herself in the natural world. Her book One Cacao Tree: Backyard Cocoa, Tiny Fermentations, and Chocolate Making in the Tropics is an accessible, tangible guide to every step of cacao’s journey, from growing to fermenting, grinding to tempering.

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Mixed Results: How Sour Ale Producers Make the Numbers Work

May 6, 2024 |

Mixed-fermentation, long-aged sours are among the most prestigious styles in all of beer. The esoteric flavors and lore of Belgian Lambic styles have inspired countless American brewers to look beyond conventional fermentations in search of mystery and glory. It’s an expensive but esteemed branch of brewing, and one upon which many reputations have been built. The only problem? Hardly anyone seems to be buying these beers anymore.

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Bean to Barstool Podcast | Somerville Chocolate & Aeronaut Brewing

April 17, 2024 |

In this episode of Bean to Barstool, we’re looking at a fascinating collaboration between a craft chocolate maker and a craft brewery. Eric Parkes at Somerville Chocolate is a tenant in Aeronaut Brewing’s building in Somerville, Massachusetts, so he makes chocolate just a short distance from where brewmaster Mark Bowers and Director of Brewing Operations Filipe Garcia are brewing beer. This has allowed for an ongoing creative exchange between these worlds, yielding unique beers made with cacao and unique chocolate bars made with beer, brewing ingredients, and cacao and other ingredients that have been first used to make beer. The relationship has allowed for creative experimentation and mutual education. In this interview, Eric, Mark, Filipe, and host David Nilsen discuss the benefits of this arrangement and look in detail at the beers and chocolate bars that have come from it.

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Bean to Barstool Podcast | Nick Davis of Jamaica’s One One Cacao

April 3, 2024 |

Nick Davis makes bean to bar chocolate at One One Cacao on the northeast coast of Jamaica. The cacao trade on the island has been tainted by a colonial past of slavery and oppression, but is now being reclaimed as farmers and makers take back agency. Nick shares his thoughts on the good and bad of inclusions, the challenges and opportunities in Jamaican cacao and chocolate, the historical and modern impacts of colonialism on both, and how making chocolate has allowed him to reclaim some of his family’s story and power that had been taken by that colonial harm. I’m so grateful to Nick for his time and his insights, and I think you’re going to enjoy this conversation as well.

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Bean to Barstool Podcast | TCHO Chocolate’s Relationship to Craft Beer

March 20, 2024 |

Today we’re talking with Brad Kintzer, the chocolate maker at TCHO Chocolate in Berkeley, California. In our conversation, we discuss TCHO’s corporate ownership, how they source their cacao, and the flavor labs TCHO has established in many cacao growing regions to work with growers on a mutually-informed flavor lexicon for chocolate and to improve quality.

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Bean to Barstool Podcast | Mushrooms in Beer and Chocolate

March 13, 2024 |

Mushrooms aren’t the first ingredient we usually think of for flavoring beer or chocolate, but many craft brewers and craft chocolate makers are using different species to create unique flavor experiences and, in some cases, provide unexpected health benefits. In today’s episode, we talk all about using mushrooms in beer and chocolate.

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Bean to Barstool Podcast | Luke Owen Smith Talks with Phoebe Preuss of Living KoKo

February 21, 2024 |

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.

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Roasty & Alcohol-Free | Brewing Non-Alcoholic Stouts

January 26, 2024 |

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.

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Bean to Barstool Podcast | Learning/Unlearning: Agronomist Sarah Bharath on Unlearning What We Think We Know

January 24, 2024 |

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).

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Bean to Barstool Podcast | All About Vanilla

January 10, 2024 |

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.

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Bean to Barstool Podcast | Favorite Beers & Chocolates of 2023

December 20, 2023 |

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.

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Sierra Nevada Enters Non-Alcoholic Craft Beer with Trail Pass

December 15, 2023 |

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.

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Bean to Barstool Podcast | Adam Krantz of Monsoon Chocolate

December 6, 2023 |

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.

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What They Do Best | Funkytown Brewery Is Crafting Dreams

November 27, 2023 |

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.

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Bean to Barstool Podcast | Chocolate Educator Max Gandy aka Dame Cacao

November 22, 2023 |

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.

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Bean to Barstool Podcast | Flavor as Icon & Ritual

November 15, 2023 |

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.

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Bean to Barstool Podcast | Martyn O’Dare of Firetree Chocolate

October 11, 2023 |

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.

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First-Timers & Familiar Names Pace Ohio’s Record-Setting Day at GABF

September 29, 2023 |

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.

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Finding Passion Again: Ohio’s Third Eye Brewing Returns to Beer’s Biggest Stage

September 28, 2023 |

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.

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Bean to Barstool Podcast | The Beer Lover’s Guide to Cider by Beth Demmon

September 28, 2023 |

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.

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