Today I decided to stop in to Trinity Brewing to try their new Chilly Water Baltic Porter. I missed the opening and I had a few phone calls I had to make to talk about upcoming beer projects, so I thought this would make a nice backdrop for the conversation.
Baltic Porters are unique in that they aren’t actually ales, they are bottom-fermenting lagers, fermented colder than ales. I had the Great Divide Smoked Baltic Porter just the other day, on Thanksgiving, paired with my dessert so I have this style on the brain right now. I was surprised that there were huge differences between the GD version and Trinity’s version, and to be quite honest, the Trinity version won my heart. The beer pours deep, deep, black with a beautiful foamy dark tan head. The smell is of very dark chocolate and a heavy roast and something I’m not too familiar with, I’m guessing it’s the special wood the beer was aged on. I’ve never tasted a beer with this specific wood, they call it Cauchalalate, a rare wood from Mexico. It definitely adds a lot of flavor, which I’ll get into momentarily. The texture is smooth and finishes semi-dry. The taste is bittersweet and much earthier than I expected. The dark chocolate presence is definitely there, there is a little smokiness, some coffee-ish flavors and the wood provides a really warm and round light-vanilla taste that reminds me of what you get when beer is aged on oak, but deeper and “dirtier” than that. Not sure how else to explain it. The aftertaste lingers for a nice long time. It’s at 8.5% but that sneaks up on you because it drinks lighter than that. It’s really a well-balanced beer and everything about it is exciting. I’m used to these beers having dark fruit tastes, which is great, but this one is really unique. This beer is absolutely amazing, and I’m really looking forward to trying it again.