#Bean to Barstool Archives – 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A lot of Bean to Barstool listeners come to this podcast from the craft chocolate world, and given how complicated and overwhelming beer can be, we want to make sure you all get to enjoy the beer-related parts of this podcast to the fullest. Today we’re going to look at beer basics—the ingredients and processes of brewing and some frequently asked questions about beer, which will hopefully make the beer conversations we have on this show make more sense and be even more enjoyable. Grab a beer and listen in!
In this episode of Bean to Barstool, David Nilsen talks with Arron Liu of Chocobien in Hong Kong. Chocobien is a bean-to-bar chocolate company that produces many truly unique bars that employ flavors and ingredients from other artisan food and beverage segments, including beer, whiskey, coffee, sake, tea and more. Chocobien’s Beer Fermented bar uses malt, hops, and beer yeast in innovative ways to subtly evoke the flavors of beer from Hong Kong’s Black Kite Brewing. Arron talks about the ideas behind these bars, the partnerships and processes that went into their development, and the satisfaction this curious and creative maker finds in achieving the flavors he could only hold in his imagination at the start of each experiment.
Many people don’t realize chocolate is a fermented food. Before we can make chocolate from cacao, that cacao has to undergo a fermentation process. This process is usually spontaneous, meaning the microbiotic cultures that carry out cacao fermentation are not manually added to the fermentation substrate but instead occur naturally. That doesn’t mean it’s a hands off process. A great deal of knowledge and expertise both traditional and technical is required to yield the best results. The entire process has much in common with spontaneous fermentation used in brewing Lambics and many Wild Ales.
Pairing beer and chocolate is one of the major topics of Bean to Barstool. Chocolate can pair beautifully with a wide variety of grown-up beverages, however, and most people probably think of wine for this role first. Estelle Tracy leads wine and chocolate pairing events professionally. She comes to this not as a stuffy expert but as a curious observer who has learned along the way, following her senses to new areas of knowledge and expertise without losing the joy of discovery.
Honey beer styles are more popular than ever, but they aren’t new. There were several beverages in antiquity that were fermented from honey, many of which have survived today. Mead is fermented entirely from honey, while Braggot is basically a hybrid of beer and mead. In recent history, Belgian brewers have proven adept at brewing Biere de Miel, less a style than a group of beers that incorporate honey. And from there, modern craft brewers have started putting honey into more and more styles.
In this episode, host David Nilsen talk with brewers at Hi-Wire Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina, about 10W-40, a family of Imperial Stouts brewed with French Broad Chocolates cacao, Dynamite coffee, and Ugandan vanilla. He talks with Peter Batinski, head brewer at Hi-Wire’s South Slope location in Asheville, where he trials many of Hi-Wire’s beers and leads innovation; and Hank Marshall, head brewer at the Big Top, Hi-Wire’s production brewery near Biltmore Village in Asheville. Peter and Hank talk about developing new variants of 10W-40, the process of brewing the base beer, the dozens of 10W-40 variants, and the related beers that have sprung off from the 10-dub family.
In this episode we talk with Chris Davison of Wolf’s Ridge Brewing and Colin Vent of Seventh Son Brewing, both in Columbus, Ohio, who use quality cacao in a variety of their beers. Both brewers source their cacao from Ethereal Confections with Ethereal Confections in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois, and we’ll also talk with Marisa Allen and Michael Ervin of Ethereal, who also provide cacao to a variety of other breweries.
In this episode we talk with Arcelia Gallardo, the founder and chocolate maker at Mission Chocolate in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Arcelia has taken a long and winding road to making world class chocolate in Brazil, and as she’ll explain, her own journey is interwoven with the growth of the cacao industry and bean to bar chocolate scene in Brazil over the last decade. Arcelia also talks about the exciting craft beer scene in Brazil right now, and its relationship to cacao.
In this episode of Bean to Barstool, we explore the differences in the descriptive language used for beer and chocolate, and look at ways these worlds could be bridged. Host David Nilsen talks with beer writer Randy Mosher, Burial Beer co-founder and CEO Jess Reiser, chocolate writer Megan Giller, French Broad Chocolates co-founder Jael Skeffington (Jael Rattigan at the time), and chocolate retailer and educator London Coe about beer and chocolate language and why it matters.