AboutDavid Nilsen, Author at PorchDrinking.com
Many craft beers featuring chocolate — or more commonly its main ingredient, cacao — are high alcohol behemoths. Pastry Stouts and related styles are like liquid desserts, and match the luxurious character of chocolate with the indulgence of double digit ABVs. However, one of the most awarded chocolate beers in the world — Big Drop Galactic Extra Dark — has almost no alcohol at all.
In this episode of Bean to Barstool, David Nilsen talks with the Ale Sharpton, a beer expert, writer, photographer, and consultant living in Atlanta, Georgia. Ale is one of the most respected voices in the craft beer scene, and he’s a passionate advocate for folks of all backgrounds, races, and identities to get to enjoy this beautiful drink. A few years back, he partnered with New Belgium Brewing and Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate on a signature beer called Piano Keys that would open conversations and show newcomers what beer could be. Here David and Ale discuss the process for developing this chocolate vanilla Imperial Stout, Ale’s passion for flavor, and the road ahead for Piano Keys Stout.
In this episode of Bean to Barstool, David Nilsen talks with Em Sauter, a fellow Advanced Cicerone and the creator of Pints & Panels, a cartoon that celebrates beer and provides educational resources for folks curious to learn more about our favorite drink. Em is the author of two books, the most recent of which, Hooray for Craft Beer, was just published in April. With whimsical cartoons and easy-to-understand explanations, the book is a fun and positive way to look at beer from a new angle and learn about it in a non-intimidating way. Listen as Em Sauter talks talk about the book, her creative process, and why positivity is so important in the craft beer world.
In this episode of Bean to Barstool, Advanced Cicerone David Nilsen talks with Lauren Gay, a certified Sommelier and the wine director and general manager at Sueño and Tender Mercy in Dayton, Ohio. Lauren is passionate about hospitality and great wine. You can hear her enthusiasm as she discusses her journey as a Somm, what she loves about the tasting experience and how she extends that experience to her guests. Along the way, David has Lauren taste two excellent beers and three bean to bar chocolates to get a unique perspective on the flavors of each from a seasoned wine expert.
Hooray for Craft Beer!, the new book of educational beer cartoons from Em Sauter of Pints & Panels, celebrates learning about beer in an inclusive and non-intimidating way. The follow-up to 2017’s Beer Is For Everyone (of Drinking Age)!, this new title from Brewers Publications issues an invitation to people of all levels of beer knowledge to enjoy and understand our favorite beverage.
I was standing in the middle of a wide, crowded aisle at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival in Denver when I felt a familiar fog begin to close in inside my head. My thoughts got fuzzy and abstract, my eyes became fixed on the middle distance as the edges blurred, and my jaw felt wired shut. I was a silent observer inside a robot body.
“It’s been known for a long time the addition of hops will control the growth of bacteria in beer,” says Matt McCarroll, professor of chemistry and biochemistry and director of the Fermentation Science Institute at Southern Illinois University. While these antibacterial qualities aren’t usually needed in modern brewing, the rise in popularity of mixed-fermentation beers has reawakened interest in this poorly understood property of hops.
The bare shoulder and neck of what we assume is a human woman is sketched in pencil. The lines vary in shade and weight like they’re drawn from shadows. Where the neck meets the face, a skeletal jaw emerges, the teeth all wrong like they were ripped from something that hunts the dark forest. The upper teeth are human, and above them, the hollow eye sockets of a skull that nonetheless seem to stare straight into us.
And it’s here the nightmare really begins. Massive branches of a great tree split from the top of the skull like an antler rack, too heavy for the neck but held up by a hidden, infernal strength, stretching their limbs and fingers into the fog. Looking closer, the creature’s own arms bear a faint pattern of bark, the entire thing some alchemy of primeval nature and inchoate humanity stalking the landscape of our dreams.
Anchorage Brewing in Alaska’s most populous city has been known for its sour and mixed-fermentation beers since opening in 2010, and will soon be adding a new layer to its sour program: a 14 bbl coolship on the rooftop deck of its new expansion. While a new coolship at an American craft brewery is noteworthy on its own, this one is even more unique in being the first all-wood coolship in commercial operation. It was made by Foeder Crafters in St. Louis, Missouri.
“As a native of Oregon, the natural bounty all around us informs everything we do,” said Christian DeBenedetti, founder and brewer at Wolves & People. “As a brewer interested in a hyper-local approach to making beer, Oregon offers so much in the way of things for us to seek out and experiment with.”
Fifth Street Brewpub in Dayton, Ohio, found their new head brewer in a way perfectly befitting the small, neighborhood establishment’s community focus: through a hometown connection and a pint at the pub.
As breweries across the country look at how to better protect their employees and patrons from sexual violence and harassment, Fifth Street Brewpub in Dayton, Ohio, has sought outside help to train their staff effectively. Fifth Street recently became Gem City Safe Bars-certified through YWCA Dayton, who runs the local chapter of the Safe Bars program.
Of all the buzzworthy beer categories today, one earns that buzz(zzzz) more than others. Honey beers are growing in popularity, and they take their distinguishing ingredient from the amazing honey bee. Each honey bee worker flies hundreds of miles in her lifetime, pollinates thousands of flowers and communicates with her hivemates by dancing. One brewery from Oregon is shining a light on bees by using the sweet stuff in a quenching beer redolent of summer wildflowers.
A new beer from N.E.W. Ales Brewing in Middletown, Ohio reclaims a sometimes controversial phrase to celebrate Pride Month. #AlphabetMafia is a 4.9% ABV Hazy Pale Ale brewed in collaboration with Colorado’s Goldspot Brewing. Both breweries are woman- and LGBTQ-owned, and the beer’s name references a term coined as a barb toward the LGBTQIA+ community that has since been adopted by many of the community’s members.
“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.