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.
Bean to Barstool Podcast | Learning/Unlearning: Agronomist Sarah Bharath on Unlearning What We Think We KnowJanuary 24, 2024 | David Nilsen
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).
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.
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.
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.
In episode 109 of The PorchCast, Korey and Tristan were joined by Katherine Strain, Lab Manager and Lecturer for Brewery Operations in the School of Hospitality at Metro State, along with Bernardo Alatorre, Director of the Brewery Operations Program at Metro State to talk about the incredible Brewery Operations Program along with the newly opened Charlie Papazian Brewing Education Lab.
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.
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.
Happy kickoff to GABF! Last night, we recorded a very special PorchCast with our friends, Brandon & Lisa Boldt, co-founders of Primitive Beer in Longmont, as well as Eric and …
In episode 107 of The PorchCast, Tristan and Korey were joined by Jill Preston, Director of Marketing for Left Hand Brewing at Left Hand’s newest location in Denver’s River North Art District right next to Mission Ballroom to recap what a monstrous past two years it’s been for the pioneer Colorado brewery.
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.
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.
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.
In episode 105 of The PorchCast, Tristan and Bryant spoke with Rich Fierro, co-founder of Atrevida Beer Company about the origin story of he and his wife/head brewer, Jessica Fierro launched Atrevida.
Leila Carvajal’s family has worked with cacao for generations, stretching back to the 19th century, but every generation has reinterpreted their relationship with this fruit tree that gives us chocolate. Growing up in Ecuador, Leila remembers visiting the cacao farms that provided beans for Cocoa Supply, her family’s company. Leila eventually became a chemical engineer and now lives in the U.S., and has guided Cocoa Supply into its current position as a leading provider of cacao for bean to bar makers and, notably, craft breweries.
Listen in as Leila introduces us to Cocoa Supply. We talk about their business and sourcing practices, the farms they work with, and the products they offer. First though, she tells us the story of her family’s company, a story that begins on a small cacao farm in the 1800s.