We’ve all gotten pretty busy in the past year here at Craft Beer Social as you may have noticed from our prolonged break from posting reviews. We recently held our annual Craft Beer Social Yankee Swap at Five Horses in Somerville, MA, which gave us the opportunity to get together in person to discuss the state of the blog.
Our extended hiatus was sending us all a message: perhaps a reformatting of the way we structure our reviews would get more beers reviewed and stories shared. We decided to try an experiment and dispense with some of the formality we had standardized as part of our posts. So going forward, the ratings will be gone and we’ll focus instead on sharing our impressions and the stories that go along with the beers we’re writing about (and of course, great photos). The general consensus was that the act of writing the review was becoming too much of a process. We needed to focus on: tell the story, share some photos, and get publishing.
So on to the story of this beer. The main event of our Yankee Swap is a swapping of wrapped 22 oz bottles which generally tend towards the exotic, rare, or unusual. I knew I’d have to show up with something special, and this Baltic Porter is what I ultimately chose based on a recommendation from one of the employees at Gordon’s in Waltham.
Of course, never having tried it before, I figured I’d pick up a second bottle for…quality control purposes. The person who went home with it is in for a treat, IMO. Great recommendation from Gordons.
This is a 750ml bottle actually, complete with cork which tends to add a sense of occasion when you open one of these. The beer appeared a little thinner than I was expecting when I poured it, mocha black into the tulip glass. It produced a nice foamy head, at first, but that dissipated to a film after only a few minutes before vanishing altogether with hardly a trace of lacing on the glass. Nice nose with lots of dark fruit (plums?), coffee, chocolate, licorice and a hint of smoke.
First impression on tasting is that this is a very well-crafted beer. Tastes very much in line with how it smells. It does have a thinner mouth-feel as I expected (for a porter), but it is velvety smooth with low carbonation.
A pleasant sweetness hits the back of your mouth about mid-way through and a nice clean finish. There is some warming effect, but the 10% ABV is masked very well. This is a big bottle, and at that strength, perfect for sharing and introducing a friend to (right up the alley of this blog, as a matter of fact).
Now, when it comes to colder weather beers (as I view them), I’ve tried far fewer porters than I have stouts. No matter what style you’re talking about, this beer has to be elite. A note about time and place to enjoy something like this: after dinner, special occasion is what I’m thinking.
I wouldn’t choose this for an everyday beer; too sweet. But after dinner sitting around the fire with friends, this is a beer I’d be glad to serve and savor. Going to a holiday party? This would be a great bottle to bring along in a break from the usual go-to of a bottle of some wine that’ll stacked up with all the others and forgotten. I’m looking forward to tracking down more from this brewery.