Woods Beer Co. + Dandelion Chocolate
The last time William Bostwick of Woods Beer and I blended our knowledge of cacao and beer making, we came up with Cocoa Crisp: a porter inspired by the South Pacific and made with cacao from Papua New Guinea. We were so pleased with the outcome of that collaboration that we knew, immediately, this was the beginning of a fun, fruitful, and chocolatey friendship. Since Dandelion is currently out of our cacao from Papua New Guinea, we decided that this time we were going to play with some of our favorite beans from the Akesson Farm in Ambanja, Madagascar.
Grain + Cacao + Yeast
Since cacao is already a fermented fruit product, it makes sense that we would want to integrate cacao into other fermented foods. Our unique approach to processing our cacao also brings forth latent flavors—like fruits or nuts—in the bean that are not usually associated with chocolate or “chocolatey” products. Unlike the first beer we made, this one will be closer to a brown or an amber ale, rather than the typical porter or stout. While the Cocoa Crisp looked dark but tasted light, we wanted to make a light, refreshing summer brew to compliment the bright red fruitiness of our Madagascar beans. These are the same beans that we use to make our Madagascar Iced Coffee, and the bright acidity and fruitiness are highly complimentary to the green papaya and lime notes of the Motueka hops.
In the brew process, William introduced ground Cacao nibs and husks to the mash (beer tea) in order to cold brew a nib concentrate to add to the wort during the fermentation process. However, because we weren’t very excited about the flavors that came out of the concentrate, so we just added more nibs to steep in the wort and provide more tasty sugars for the yeast.
Island MildPeople wonder how Dandelion Chocolate added all the fruit to their Ambanja bars. They didn’t — they used tangy, lemon-and-cherry-flavored Madagascar cacao beans. With an extra kick of lime and green papaya from New Zealand-grown Motueka hops, our ISLAND MILD is a taste of the tropics — deliciously disguised as beer. -William Bostwick
Our final product—the Island Mild Cacao Beer—is the perfectly bright, crisp, and quenching answer to summer. Stop by Cervecería de Mateveza on 18th and Church to give it a try! We will be celebrating the release of this beer with a little get together at La Cervecería on Friday, August 8th, where Becky and I will be sampling Dandelion Chocolate Bars and Roasted Madagascar Cacao Beans! Come on by if you want to have some tasty beer and chocolate combinations! This is going to be a fun warm up for Becky and my weekend as we will be participating in the American Craft Council San Francisco Show at Fort Mason on Saturday August 9th selling and talking about our chocolate! Hope to see you there!