To put it bluntly, Dangerous Man’s Chocolate Milk Stout is a force to be reckoned with. This beer is a favorite in the taproom and is the source of much intrigue among customers. Since it will be in the taproom nonstop, I thought I’d use the Chocolate Milk Stout blog space to delve into a historical and anthropological deconstruction of the particular ingredients of this beer. So… let us to it.
The cacao plant is originally derived from Mesoamerica. The term Mesoamerica is typically used to denote an area from Mexico to Guatemala populated by native peoples with distinguishing cultural origins. The Mesoamerican peoples include the Olmec, Zapotec, Maya, Mesoamerican, Itza, Toltec, among others, having lived between 3500 B.C.E. to 1650 A.D. These cultures, usually grouped under the blanket terms of ‘Maya’ or ‘Aztec’, are renowned in the world’s popular imagination. Almost dream-like jungle pyramids and complexes, deities of fearsome violence, and complex religions weaved into scientific observation of the natural world, are all represented and misrepresented in our current culture.
Now that we have some context, we’ll jump into the nib of the matter.
Sophie Coe and Michael Coe, eminent Mesoamerican scholars, hypothesized that the use of Cacao originated with the Olmec culture, arguably one of the first larger cultures to inhabit the region. The term “kakawa” was in use around 1000 B.C.E. and theobromide, a distinctive chemical in cocoa, was found on pottery shards at the Olmec capitol complex of San Lorenzo.
The amount of vessels tested show a wide array of Cacao uses and ways of consumption. It has been postulated that the Cacao beans were slightly fermented to give a stronger, more appreciable flavor, and were consumed in either liquid form with alcohol remaining in the liquid, or were washed and consumed as a bean or crushed in a paste. Cacao was prevalent throughout the region and was a important facet in everyday life and in the use of ritual.
Now. To Dangerous Man. The Chocolate Milk Stout could be considered a representation of the past. A past unconnected in almost every way to our present except for an ingredient common in human use. As the Olmec and the Itza, the Maya and Zapotec, produced and consumed cacao in their limestone temples and plazas, as they watched regional players play their ball game and lived as people, we can see an almost jarring reflection on what it is to be human in culture.
We are all the same in our differences and our pleasures.
DRINK LOCAL, live, love, and let.