AboutDavid Nilsen, Author at PorchDrinking.com
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.
Most people associate mushrooms with savory foods, but that’s because many of us are unaware of both the wide flavor diversity of different types of mushrooms and the range of ways in which they can be incorporated into foods and beverages. Just a couple episodes back we talked with pastry chef and mixologist Michael George, who made an award-winning cocktail that incorporated black truffle mushrooms, and today we’re going to hear from a chocolate maker who offers a variety of craft chocolate bars using mushrooms, or what he calls, our little helpers.
Sour ales brewed with fruit have grown in popularity in recent years, and they have proven to be particularly attractive options for non-alcoholic (NA) craft brewers. Fruited sour ales—particularly kettle sours that don’t take nearly as long to brew as some more complex historical sour styles—offer a playground for brewers to experiment with flavor outside the strictures of traditional guidelines. They also offer some unique advantages for the non-alcoholic brewer. As NA craft beer surges in popularity, it’s not surprising to see these non-alcoholic fruited sours being offered by many prominent brands.
While brewers have long used cacao nibs for brewing chocolate beers, the pulp of the cacao fruit has been an unexplored resource due to its high perishability and cultural obscurity. Leila Carvajal Erker of Cocoa Supply wants to see that change. Her company is importing pasteurized cacao pulp from cacao farms in Ecuador and working with brewers to figure out how best it can be used in the brewing process.
Michael George is a bartender and pastry chef in Salt Lake City. They split their time between a couple different bars—you can find them on various nights at Water Witch, a James Beard-nominated bar, and Acme Bar Co. They bring a passion for flavor and story, their own vibrant personality, and the sensibility of their background in the kitchen to their drinks, in which they seek to both honor tradition and break through artificial barriers of what a drink can be. As a Black, queer, non-binary person, the barriers Michael is working to break down go far beyond just the strictures of what can go into a cocktail to encompass who gets to make that cocktail in the first place.
In this episode of Bean to Barstool host David Nilsen talks with two gentleman who work with both coffee and cacao. Kyle Bellinger of Osito Coffee partners with Jose Jadir Losada in Colombia to import both coffee and cacao to North America and Europe. Through the lens of the Colombian supply chain, he has a keen understanding of the problems and opportunities facing both coffee and cacao farmers. Hans Westerink runs Violet Sky Chocolate and Cloud Walking Coffee in South Bend, Indiana, and has spent years working with both of these enigmatic beans to deepen his understanding of how to roast and process both to make amazing bean to bar chocolate and a perfect cup of coffee. Sitting at the consumer end of the supply chain, he recognizes the problems facing these industries from a public education standpoint.
Mandy Naglich has written a book that explores how our senses interact with food and beverage, and how understanding our senses can help us better enjoy our favorite indulgences. How to Taste: A Guide to Discovering Flavor and Savoring Life (Citadel) combines science and whimsy to teach us more about our sensory world and bring our favorite flavors to life. David Nilsen talked recently with Mandy about some of the amazing things she experienced and learned while writing the book, how they both approach the tasting process, and why tasting with other people can be so impactful.