AboutDavid Nilsen, Author at PorchDrinking.com – Page 7 of 8
Blackberry Prairie Wheat | Moeller Brew BarnJanuary 29, 2018 | David Nilsen
Maria Stein, Ohio, is not the first place you expect to find a great brewery. The tiny, unincorporated town in rural Mercer County is home to only a couple hundred people, and the cattle in the area likely outnumber them. This region of west central Ohio, just north of the midline of the state, was heavily settled by German Catholics in the 1800s under the spiritual leadership of Francis de Sales Brunner, a missionary priest who established parish churches in the area. The region is now known as The Land of the Cross-Tipped Churches due to the unusually high number of Catholic worship structures in this rural area. When driving through this flat, agricultural county, you can see for miles in every direction, and no matter which way you turn, a tall steeple is silhouetted against the horizon. However, just outside of Maria Stein sits Moeller Brew Barn.
Book Review & Interview | My Beer YearJanuary 22, 2018 | David Nilsen
My Beer Year: Adventures with Hop Farmers, Craft Brewers, Chefs, Sommeliers, & Fanatical Drinkers as a Beer Master in Training by Lucy Burningham (Roost Books, 2016)
In her book My Beer Year, Portland-based journalist Lucy Burningham chronicles her time preparing for the Certified Cicerone exam. She presents herself as a novice early on (though she clearly knew more even then than the average beer drinker), and the book covers the year or so she spent gaining more knowledge and experience.
Brewer of Beyoncé-Inspired Beer Told to Hold UpDecember 13, 2017 | David Nilsen
Despite a late night signal boost from Seth Meyers, production of a beer named in honor of singer Beyoncé has been forced to re-brand. Lineup Brewing, a Brooklyn-based brewery known for their clever beer names, had brewed Biëryoncé since opening in late 2016, and recently canned the beer for the first time in 16 oz cans. The small brewery received a cease and desist letter last week from Beyoncé’s legal team ordering them to stop production.
Book Review & Interview | Brewed in MichiganDecember 8, 2017 | David Nilsen
Brewed in Michigan: The New Golden Age of Brewing in the Great Beer State (Wayne State University Press, 2017) by William Rapai
It is possible in 2017 to find good beer and exciting breweries in every state in the union. Gone are the days of large beer deserts in this country; you might just have to look at little more diligently in some states than others. Still, a few states rise above the rest with an embarrassing wealth of great breweries both old and new. Michigan is one of those states, and if you need any persuading, a new book by William Rapai aims to quiet your objections.
MadTree Brewing | Ye Olde Battering Ram Bourbon Barrel Aged BarleywineDecember 6, 2017 | David Nilsen
MadTree Brewing is a major player in the Ohio beer scene, and among the largest breweries in Cincinnati’s thriving craft market. The company built a new production brewery in early 2017, and have grown rapidly, but sustainably in the half decade since their founding. Their quirky but smart beer portfolio and attractive packaging are now available all around Ohio, as well as some areas of Indiana and Kentucky.
Little Fish Brewing | SunfishNovember 2, 2017 | David Nilsen
Little Fish Brewing sits at the western tip of Athens, Ohio, a small college town in the southwest region of the state. It’s at the very edge of town, with the county fairgrounds and a small state park separating it from the city proper and its compact and cozy downtown. The location geographically represents the philosophical space Little Fish occupies as a brewery, straddling the culture of the college town and the wilds of the southeastern Ohio Appalachian foothills. Little Fish Brewing Sunfish Saison serves as a shining example of the brewery’s dedication to conserving the resources found within that unique, beautiful location.
Book Review & Interview | Atlas of BeerOctober 24, 2017 | David Nilsen
Atlas of Beer: A Globe-Trotting Journey Through the World of Beer (National Geographic, 2017) by Nancy Hoalst-Pullen and Mark W. Patterson, with foreword and tasting tips by Garrett Oliver
For well over a century, National Geographic has been bringing the world’s wildlife, landscapes, and cultures to our homes in the form of an iconic magazine, incredible photography, and television programming. Now, the esteemed publication is broadening our perspective on an unexpected but welcome topic: beer. Read More
Event Recap | Dayton’s Ale-O-Ween 2017October 24, 2017 | David Nilsen
The Steam Plant on Third Street just east of downtown Dayton, Ohio, was built 110 years ago by Dayton Power & Light to provide heat for the small Midwestern city before being closed in the 1980s and falling into disrepair. It appeared destined for a date with the wrecking ball until a recent renovation restored this art deco industrial building to its former glory and turned it into a premier event space.
The first public event to be held in The Steam Plant? Ale-O-Ween, a one-day beer festival put on by the Ohio Craft Brewers Association and showcasing some of the best beers in the Buckeye State. Read More
2 Days, 2 Nights | Dayton’s Craft Beer SceneOctober 23, 2017 | David Nilsen 1
Dayton, Ohio, doesn’t get much love.
While the country’s craft beer nuts have started to pay attention to the amazing beer scenes in nearby Cincinnati and Columbus, Dayton gets ignored. That’s a big mistake because Dayton has an excellent and growing beer scene in a compact and affordable city center. With close to twenty breweries (and more in the planning stages) and quite a few excellent beer bars and beer-conscious restaurants—many of which are located in or near an attractive and walkable downtown area—Dayton makes for a great weekend beer getaway. If you decide to leave downtown, there are plenty of breweries and awesome restaurants in neighborhoods and suburbs farther afield, but let’s just focus on the heart of Dayton for now.
Event Preview | Dayton’s Ale-O-Ween Features 30 Ohio BreweriesOctober 17, 2017 | David Nilsen
On Saturday, October 21, Ale-O-Ween will take over the recently renovated Dayton Steam Plant in downtown Dayton. From 6-9 p.m. (with a VIP hour beginning at 5), attendees will be treated to beer from over 30 Ohio craft breweries, including Dayton breweries Warped Wing, Fifth Street Brewpub, Carillon Brewing, Dayton Beer Company, Eudora, Toxic Brew, Star City, Lock 27, Lucky Star, Yellow Springs Brewery, Hairless Hare and Heavier Than Air. Other excellent breweries from around the state include Fat Head’s Brewery, Great Lakes, MadTree, Little Fish, Seventh Son and many others. A complete list is available at the Ale-O-Ween website.
Book Review & Interview | Tasting Beer by Randy MosherSeptember 21, 2017 | David Nilsen
Tasting Beer: An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Drink, Second Edition (Storey Publishing, 2017) by Randy Mosher
If you’ve put much serious time into learning about beer, you’ve probably already dog-eared your copy of Randy Mosher’s Tasting Beer. The book is the foundational text for studying for the Cicerone exam, and is usually the first book recommended when someone wants to go beyond the basics of beer and understand our favorite beverage better.
Rockmill Brewery | TripelSeptember 11, 2017 | David Nilsen
Ask most people to picture Ohio, and they’ll probably think of flat farmland covered in soybeans and corn stretching for miles toward the horizon and broken up only by farmhouses and small towns. That’s an accurate enough image for much of Ohio, but as you head toward the southeast corner of the state, the landscape becomes something else entirely. This region is hilly and rugged, wooded and more wild than the tamed crop lands of the rest of the state. These are the foothills of the Appalachians, and this region of the Buckeye state feels like it has more in common with its neighbors, Kentucky and West Virginia, than its does with the rest of Ohio.
Beer Label Art | Yellow Springs BrewerySeptember 7, 2017 | David Nilsen
When it came time for Yellow Springs Brewery in western Ohio to redesign their logo and cans, they wanted designs that would express both the experimental freedom of the brewery and the intricate, complex precision with which master brewer Jeffrey McElfresh crafts their excellent range of beers.
Jackie O’s Brewery | ScripAugust 28, 2017 | David Nilsen
Athens, Ohio, is a small college town hidden in the hills of southeast Ohio’s coal country that plays host to several excellent breweries, the oldest and most notable of which is Jackie O’s Brewery. Jackie O’s beers cover the spectrum of styles, from sessionable pale ales to barrel-aged behemoths, and rustic saisons to elegant barleywines. Nothing is off limits for this eclectic brewery, and it’s fitting that one of their most celebrated new beers this summer is a style that’s just beginning to creep into the consciousness of American craft beer drinkers—Grisette.
Book Review & Interview | The Homebrewer’s AlmanacAugust 23, 2017 | David Nilsen
The Homebrewer’s Almanac: A Seasonal Guide to Making Your Own Beer from Scratch (Countryman Press, 2016) by Marika Josephson, Aaron Kleidon and Ryan Tockstein
The folks at Scratch Brewing Co. are connected to the land around their brewery in ways few other brewers can boast. Secluded in the woods near Ava in southern Illinois, the Scratch gang doesn’t just use local malt and hops, they pull the ingredients that make their beers so unique from the terrain of the surrounding forest. Tree bark, leaves, mushrooms, berries, nuts, flowers, even plants many of us have been trained to think of as weeds—it’s all fair game for brewers Aaron Kleidon and Marika Josephson. Consequently, their beers have a quality of place—terroir, to use the fancy parlance—few other brews have.
Event Recap | Warped Wing Trotwood DerbyAugust 1, 2017 | David Nilsen
One of the highlights of each year when I was between the ages of 10 and 12 was the annual AWANA Pinewood Derby (AWANA was like Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts for church kids—I had a weird childhood). I would give my dad an impossible car design on paper, he would do an impressive job of cutting that design from a three dimensional block of wood, and then on a Saturday morning in February—car in hand and hopes high—we would head to the track to get our asses squarely kicked. We never won anything and never came close, but it was a lot of fun. Read More
Ultimate 6er | The Cinematic Films of Sofia CoppolaJuly 26, 2017 | David Nilsen 1
Sofia Coppola emerged from the shadow of her family name in 1999 when her directorial debut The Virgin Suicides—an adaptation of Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel—hit screens. From the beginning, Coppola’s films have melded scene-perfect rock music with evocative visuals to explore the inner lives of her (usually) female main characters. Coppola’s sixth film, The Beguiled, came out last month, and while the movie has faced some controversy since its release, what is not controversial is that the director has an eye for great shots and an ear for great tunes.
Book Review & Interview | Trappist Beer TravelsJuly 24, 2017 | David Nilsen
Trappist Beer Travels: Inside the Breweries of the Monasteries (Schiffer Publishing, 2017) by Caroline Wallace, Sarah Wood & Jessica Deahl
The world’s 11 Trappist breweries hold a mystique for beer drinkers that few other breweries can generate. Not only is the beer that is produced at these monasteries consistently excellent, but the remote and cloistered nature of these breweries blankets them in an air of mystery. Few of us will ever step inside the hallowed walls of these monastic breweries; the three authors of Trappist Beer Travels have been inside all of them.
Brewery Showcase | Scratch BrewingJuly 10, 2017 | David Nilsen
Nestled in the woods of southern Illinois, among the dips and low hills of a surprisingly wild region of the state, sits one of the most innovative breweries operating in the American craft beer scene today. That innovation, however, comes by way of ancient tradition. Owners and brewmasters Marika Josephson and Aaron Kleidon aren’t pioneering cutting edge brewing technologies or using explosively flavorful new varieties of experimental hops. Rather, they’re reviving the use of ingredients and techniques that humans have used for centuries to make beer. Foraging among the underbrush of their wooded property for edible bark, nuts, fruits, flowers, roots and mushrooms, and growing yet more ingredients at their brewery garden, the folks at Scratch are bringing unexpected flavors to beer drinkers lucky enough to make it to their rustic property.
Brewery Showcase | Saint Benedict’s Brew WorksJune 6, 2017 | David Nilsen
Featured image courtesy of David Nilsen
I had never met a nun before. That feels important to establish at the outset.
Though I grew up religious, the spiritual instruction of my youth came mostly from non-denominational preachers with overactive sweat glands and a predilection toward sermons about the end times rather than from black-clad Catholic nuns. So I had no idea what to expect when my wife and I arrived at Monastery Immaculate Conception, home of the Sisters of St. Benedict in Ferdinand, Indiana. I was there to interview Bruce Luecke, the brewmaster at Saint Benedict’s Brew Works, the only brewery in the country housed on the grounds of a women’s religious community. The graceful but imposing dome of the monastery’s century-old chapel rose above us on a hill as we stepped out of our car in front of the Kordes Center, the monastery’s guest lodging facility. The brewery was nowhere in sight as we entered the doors of the retreat center.