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How do we become better beer tasters and get better at describing the flavors in our beer? Natalya Watson is a Beer Sommelier and Advanced Cicerone® passionate about sharing her knowledge of beer with others because she believes that beer is simply too delicious to remain undiscovered. She’s the founder of Virtual Beer School, host of the ‘Beer wit…
 
“Chocolate acted as a central vehicle of women’s ritual power, and was a flashpoint for women’s disorderly behavior in public settings.” - Martha Few in her article “Chocolate, Sex, and Disorderly Women in Late 17th and Early 18th Century Guatemala” as quoted by Megan Giller Chocolate is a plant-based food or drink in which the main ingredient—the …
 
Need the perfect theme for your at-home beer tasting party with friends? I just published a full guide to hosting your own beer tasting at home on the Bean to Barstool blog, but the one thing I didn’t include was possible themes for your tasting. Listen to this super quick bonus episode for some great ideas to help you choose beer styles for your t…
 
It’s exciting for people to learn this history about women in brewing in Medieval Europe and feel like they’re part of a story, but I think it’s important that we’re telling the right story and the story that’s based on primary-source information. In recent years, associations have been made between depictions of Medieval alewives and our modern da…
 
This decadent Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout was brewed with Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico cacao from a beloved bean to bar chocolate maker. Weldwerks Brewing in Greeley, Colorado, recently partnered with Denver bean to bar chocolate maker Cultura Chocolate on a variant of their legendary Medianoche Imperial Stout that’s all about the chocolate. Double…
 
“As long as I have my mind and memories and a chocolate, I can go wherever I want.” - Chocolate educator Sanna Forslund Our senses are made of magic (driven by really cool science) and engaging our senses by tasting chocolate can transport us to other places and times, summon memories, evoke emotions, and provoke imagination. Today’s guest is a cho…
 
When you’re pairing beer and chocolate, you aren’t pairing a meal; you’re pairing a moment. So how do you make that moment the best it can be? There are some special considerations when it comes to pairing craft beer and bean to bar chocolate, and in this episode I walk some of through those, offering tips on how to pair chocolate and beer. I also …
 
Our senses can be conduits of wonder, transporting us to places we’ve been before and places we’ve only dreamed of, connecting us to past versions of ourselves and to the other people around us. In this episode we talk about tasting good beer and good chocolate with all of our senses, a process that engages our memories, emotions, and imaginations …
 
In a super busy summer, Ryan and Evan sat down to catch up on good beers and great summer times. Ryan gives a breakdown of a recent share with some friends and their favorite beers of the night - unfruited lambics and barleywines! We also talk about what's left for the rest of the summer and what beers we are looking forward to enjoying the most!…
 
What could be better for Father Day’s than bean to bar chocolate bonbon bars made with amazing craft beer? French Broad Chocolates in Asheville, North Carolina, has once again partnered with Asheville’s Burial Beer on a series of four “bean to bonbon” bars, and they’re as complex, elegant, and indulgent as the beers they’re made with. In today’s ep…
 
There are countless similarities between the worlds of craft beer and bean to bar chocolate, and few people know that as well as Scott Watson. Scott was a professional craft brewer in the 1990s when craft beer was just beginning to gain national attention. After leaving the craft beer world, he eventually discovered bean to bar chocolate and founde…
 
Ryan, Evan, and Bryan sat down for some Weldwerks Brewing Medianoche, first for the Reserve and then for the Bananas Foster. Adjuncts you say? Sure, but done with such detail that these are always so enjoyable! Recently, Belle Meade released batch #2 of their honey bourbon and since none of us won, we snagged a Starlight Distillery version to see w…
 
Honey bees are so cool. A honey bee worker lives for just 5 or 6 weeks during the summer, but in that time she’ll fly about 500 miles visiting 20,000 individual flowers. She’ll fly until her wings literally start to fail and fall off, and by the end of her life she’ll have made about a 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey. There were several beverages in an…
 
For the love of lagers!! What a fun time Ryan and Evan had talking with owner and head brewer Thomas Beckmann of Goldfinger Brewing in Downers Grove, IL. Not yet a full year open, they are creating excitement in their community, a passion for celebrating tradition, and some seriously crispy lagers! Tom talked about how his brewery came to be, his f…
 
In this episode we explore the flavor of wood and other tree ingredients in bean to bar chocolate and craft beer. So many evocative flavors and aromas come from trees without us really thinking about them that way. Cinnamon is a tree bark. Maple syrup comes from tree sap. In the adult beverage world, the quinine that gives bitterness to tonic water…
 
In this episode, we talk with Xoco by Corina, a Norwegian bean to bar maker who is partnering with Lervig Beer, a prominent Norwegian craft brewery, to create 3 Bean Stout Chocolate, a 70% dark chocolate bar that is perhaps more evocative of the Amazon than the Arctic, but nonetheless demonstrates the tapestry of influences that make beer and choco…
 
Evan and Ryan invite Charles to join in on a music and Chicago focused episode. We've shared lots of great beer with him at bottle shares in the past and wanted to catch up with him to see how his enthusiasm of Chicago beers and music has been going. We talk special vinyl records, Phase Three Brewing, and why a non-fruited lambic is best to drink f…
 
In the Cincinnati neighborhood of Over the Rhine—an enclave that housed much of the city’s German population in the 19th century and served as the de facto brewery district—Maverick Chocolate is working with breweries in the city’s thriving craft beer scene to provide cacao for a range of beers. The most recent example is Black Forest Gateau, a str…
 
Every aroma or flavor we identify in beer or chocolate or some other food or drink is something we learned at some point, and that personal vocabulary is based upon where we grew up, our cultural background, and a host of other influences. As craft beer works to be more inclusive, the language we use to describe beer needs to be examined and opened…
 
Sara Ratza loves plants. She got into chocolate making after getting into herbal medicine, and she brings that plant wisdom and love for green, growing things to the art of chocolate making at Ratza Chocolate. Sara incorporates a variety of botanicals into her bars, including hops. Listen in as she talks about her philosophy behind using these bota…
 
Ryan and Evan had a great time hosting to Mike Zoller, midwest editor of PorchDrinking.com, to talk Chicago beer and all things current in craft beer. Check him out on Instagram (@chicagobeer) for great craft beer insight and cheeky content about the absurdities we see in the industry. We got to talk about what Chicago is doing great in the current…
 
The use of chocolate in beer and vice versa goes beyond adding cacao nibs to a Porter or Stout or infusing a dark chocolate with the same styles. Orpheus Brewing in Atlanta aged a sour beer on cacao fruit pulp and seeds, then turned those seeds into chocolate. Somerville Chocolate in Massachusetts steeped their nibs in fermenting beer and then drie…
 
Ryan and Evan catch up on how the 2020 Holiday season went and start the new year off right. We were fortunate to sample some beer sent to us from Waypost Brewing Co. in Fennville, MI, which was a great zwickel style lager. Musings on the Kyle and Evan annual home-brew stout, online beer ordering apps, great selfies and of course a sip of some Swis…
 
Coffee is used extensively in the worlds of craft beer and bean to bar chocolate, and today we explore the world of coffee beer and coffee chocolate. In this episode we talk with craft brewers, bean to bar chocolate makers, and artisan coffee roasters about the synergy between these products, as well as how coffee and cacao intersect at origin over…
 
As I fell in love with craft beer in my twenties and eventually bean to bar chocolate in my thirties, and as I grew in my proficiency as a home cook, I noticed something curious happening: the role faith had once played in my young life of pushing me to explore my identity and experiences, contemplate my world, and experience wonder and connection …
 
Ryan, Evan, Brad, and Kyle virtually gather to discuss their stand out beers and breweries of the year 2020. It must have been the year of the lager because many great lagers showed up on our lists in addition to some obvious beers (did someone say B:B:T from Side Project??) and some surprises like the one from Homes Brewing. Some breweries pivoted…
 
When highly creative brewers and chocolate makers come together for collaborations, the results can be magical. In this episode we’ll talk with Hans Westerink of Violet Sky Chocolate in South Bend, Indiana, who creates fantastic single origin and inclusion chocolate bars and frequently collaborates with craft brewers. We’ll also talk with Brett Smi…
 
Malt is the foundational ingredient of beer, but it’s an afterthought for most craft beer fans. A new group of small, artisan malt houses are returning character to brewing malt, and that malt is popping up in unexpected places—including bean to bar chocolate bars. In this episode we talk with Riverbend Malt House, French Broad Chocolates, & Carill…
 
Many brewers who use cacao in a beer have no idea where that cacao is coming from, or any of its more nuanced flavor notes. They see chocolate as one abstract flavor, so the details don’t matter. More and more brewers are recognizing the flavor diversity of good chocolate and the benefits of working with a bean to bar chocolate company to source et…
 
Evan and Ryan caught up with a couple friends they have know virtually for a number of years. While never having a beer in person together before (well, Evan and Nate did a long time ago), Max and Nate joined in to see where all the hype is these days as excitement has moved more into the bourbon world. We still enjoyed some good beers on the chat …
 
In previous episodes, we've talked about the ways in which our individual backgrounds affect our personal sensory vocabularies. When we taste beer or chocolate with someone who has had different experiences, we each recognize different flavors and aromas. Many brewers and chocolate makers infuse their creations with ingredients and flavors from the…
 
We finally got a gang of four together and enjoyed a night discussing the best parts of our summer on Ryan's back porch. Great night to be outside and sip on some stouts and talk our favorite beers and food over the last couple of months. Ryan, Mark, Kyle, and Evan (with Brad joining us off mic) enjoyed some great beers from Bottle Logic Brewing, S…
 
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