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Steak is typically off my menu when the weather turns cold.  I usually don’t even see the point in eating steak unless it is cooked on my charcoal grill.  But my wife found a great marinade recipe (and no, the marinade did not include beer!), and with a nice bottle of stout I’d been wanting to try on hand, I gave the broiler a try, and was so happy I did.

 

Broiled Flank Steak with Mushrooms

 

For the steak:

1 to 1-1/2 lb Flank Steak

1 medium onion

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 tamari or regular soy sauce

 

Season steak with salt and pepper, and put into a large plastic zip-top bag.  Chop onion, and stir together in a bowl with the other ingredients.  Pour into bag with steak, and marinade for several hours, or up to 2 days, turning occasionally.

 

When ready to cook, remove steak from bag, discard marinade, and put onto broiler pan.  Set oven rack to 3” to 4” below broiler, and set broiler on high.  Cook anywhere from 6 to 8 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the steak and your desired doneness.

 

Transfer steak to a cutting board, and cut at a 45-degree angle across the grain into thin slices.  Serve topped with mushrooms and sauce per recipe below:

 

For the mushrooms:

3/4 lb portobello mushrooms

3/4 lb white mushrooms

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 stick of butter

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2-1/2 tablespoons tamari or regular soy sauce

1/8 cup sugar

 

Wisk together the vinegar, soy sauce and sugar in a bowl.  Set aside.

 

Halve, then slice the portobellos into 1/4” thick slices.  Put 1/4 of a stick of butter in a pan over medium heat, add about half of the chopped onion, cook for 1 minute, then add the portabellas.  Stir occasionally, until mushrooms are well-browned and most of the liquid has evaporated from the pan.  Set aside in a bowl.

 

Slice the white mushrooms into 1/4” thick slices.  Put the other 1/4 stick of butter in the pan, and add the rest of the chopped onion.  Cook for 1 minute, then add the white mushrooms.  Again, stir occasionally, until mushrooms are well-browned and most of the liquid has evaporated from the pan.  Increase the heat to medium-high, add the already cooked portobellos, along with the vinegar-soy sauce mixture.  Allow to boil for approximately 3 minutes, or until sauce thickens slightly.  Serve over sliced steak.

 

*****

 

My perfect beer pairing for this steak is Green Flash Stout.  Only recently available in New Jersey, Green Flash Brewing was founded six years ago just outside the micro-brew mecca of San Diego, California.  Well-known for their hop-heavy West Coast IPA and other hoppy brews, their stout is a more balanced offering, but still with a noticeable hop presence.

 

It pours a deep ruby-cola hue, almost black, with a frothy, foamy head the color of chocolate milk.  An initial caramel and brown sugar sweetness is soon followed by an earthy middle of cocoa powder and bakers chocolate.  The finish is earthy as well, with flavors of roasted walnut, sasparilla, and bitter root; just enough bitterness to balance the initial sweetness.  The mouthfeel is thick and creamy; rich enough to be memorable, but not so rich that you can’t finish a pint or two.

 

The sweet, bitter, and earthy flavors in the stout both compliment and contrast the sweet and tangy flavors in the steak marinade and mushroom sauce.  While both the steak and the stout are extrememly enjoyable on their own, the pairing brings both to new heights.

 

Definition: Stout

The stout style was originated by the Guinness Brewery of Ireland, who brewed several types of porter, including their “Extra Stout Porter”, a particularly rich and flavorful take on the porter style of beer so popular in England at the time.  Eventually, the word Porter was dropped from the name, and Guinness became the mother of all stouts to come.  Key to a stout is the roasted and chocolate barley malts that provide the distinctive flavor and color to the style.  While I’ve found quite a few stouts over the years I enjoy more than Guinness, I must still tip my hat to (and enjoy the occasional pint of) the original.

 

Beer Quote:

 “Fermentation equals civilization.”

                                     – John Ciardi

 

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A Belgian Dubbel is a true treat to those who love dark, rich and complex beers that pair well with hearty food.  The raisins in the following recipe compliment the dark fruit flavors of the beer, while the carbonation and notes of spice in the beer help cut the sweetness of the rich sauce.  While nearly any Belgian or Belgian-style Dubbel will do, I tried this particular dish with a Dubbel by Westmalle, a Trappist brewery where the beer is produced under the watchful eyes of the monks of the Trappist Abbey of Westmalle.

I suggest making homemade spaetzle (recipe further below) to accompany the pork, but egg noodles will do in a pinch.  The pork comes out amazingly tender, so be patient during the relatively long cooking time.  It is well worth the wait.

  

Slow Braised Pork with Raisins and Balsamic 

Serves 3-4 people

1-1/2 to 2-pound boneless pork butt, cut into 3-4 equal pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 large onion, diced
1-1/2 cups raisins soaked in warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
1 teaspoon thyme

Preheat oven to 325°F. Salt and pepper the pork. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add pork to pot and cook until browned on all four sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer pork to plate; discard fat in pot. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in same pot over medium heat. Drain the water from the raisins, then add onions and raisins and sauté until onions are soft, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Add sugar and stir for about 30 seconds. Add vinegar and bring mixture to boil.  Cook until slightly reduced, about 2-3 minutes. Add broth, all herbs, and pork with juices from plate. Bring to boil. Cover pot and transfer to oven. Bake (braise) for 45 minutes. Using tongs, turn pork over and continue braising until meat is very tender, about 45 minutes longer.  Remove pork from pot, and place on top of spaetzel (or noodles) and cover.

Boil cooking liquid over high heat until thickened, about 4-5 minutes.  Ladle from pot, leaving any fat or oils behind.  Pour over pork and serve.  

Spaetzle
2 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup minced parsley
Butter to taste

Lightly grease a large bowl with butter.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, blend flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in eggs and milk, and mix to form a soft batter. Mix in the parsley.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Taking about a 1/2 cup of batter at a time and using a flat spatula, press the batter directly into boiling water through 1/4-inch holes on coarse grater or colander.  Stir spaetzle gently and boil for 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, scoop spaetzle from pot, drain well, and transfer to buttered bowl.

  

Definition: Trappist Beer

 

Only seven breweries in the world are authorized to call label their beers as Trappist.  Six are from Belgium (Orval, Chimay, Westvleteren, Rochefort, Westmalle and Achel), and one is from The Netherlands (Koningshoeven).  These beers must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist abbey, either directly by or under supervision of Trappist monks.  The monks started brewing to both provide for their own consumption and also to provide funds for the upkeep of the abbey and their charitable works.

 

Trappist beers are typically either Dubbels (dark, rich ales with flavors of dried fruit, brown sugar, and caramel) or Tripels (light in color, but strong in alcohol ales where often the flavor of the particular grains used comes through).  In both Dubbels and Tripels, notes of spice, distinctive to each brewery, are a result of the particular strain of yeast used to ferment (no actual spice is added to the brew itself). 

Many often believe the terms “Dubbel” and “Tripel” refer to the strength of the beer.  However, the mathematics are not exact… a Dubbel at around 7% ABV isn’t double the strength of a typical lager, and a Tripel at around 10% isn’t triple-strength.  The terms may derive from the relative amount of grain used.  And why, may you ask, can you not find a Trappist “Single”?  It is actually called a “Simple” is a low-strength beer sometimes brewed by the monks soley for their own consumption.

 

 

Beer Quote:

“In heaven there is no beer…
That’s why we drink it here!”

                                    – Frankie Yankovic

HomerNo, I haven’t changed this blog from a place for imbibers to a study in Greek literature… no, I’m writing about our favorite yellow beer-lovin’ fella and his trip to the Kwik-E-Mart. Now Homer Simpson can get everything he’s ever dreamed of in a single pint… a pint of ice cream that is!

Ben & Jerry’s is releasing a one-time only flavor, “Duff & D’oh-Nuts”, for the premeire of The Simpson’s Movie in Springfield, Vermont. Yes, that’s Duff as in Duff Beer, and D’oh-Nuts as in Homer’s favorite breakfast, coffee-break treat and late-night snack. And those crazy folks at Ben & Jerry’s are putting both of these into ice cream. They say it will be “a combination of chocolate and cream stout ice creams with glazed chocolate donuts.” Hmmm… donuts…

Read more about it here!

And for those who can’t make it to Vermont to try this delicious sounding concoction, you can always add your own donuts to Ben & Jerry’s only other beer-flavored ice cream, “Black & Tan”.

Beer Quote:

“Ah, beer, my one weakness. My Achille’s heel, if you will.”
– Homer Simpson

Father's Office SignIn the LA scene of clubs and cocktails, Father’s Office in Santa Monica is a welcome oasis for excellent beers and one great burger. Hiding behind a 1950’s facade of an “old man” bar, a bright modern interior of blonde wood is lined with gleaming silver taps from some of the finest craft breweries in the West: AleSmith, Anderson, Lagunitas, Rogue, Russian River and Stone are among the standouts collected here. For a visitor from the East Coast, this was a “pint of gold” at the west end of the rainbow.

We ordered a couple of burgers from the bar, along with an order of sweet potato fries. The fries arrive first in a miniture metal shopping cart just as we snag a coveted table. A slightly crisp exterior with just enough salt gives way to an almost custard-like middle of sweet potato goodness. Hands down, these are the most perfectly prepared fries of any kind I have ever found in a bar.

The burgers arrive shortly after. While the fries are marvels of simplicity, the burgers have layers of complexity one does not expect from “pub grub”. Topped with tiny tender fresh spinach leaves, carmelized onions, and crumbled blue cheese, the smokey bacon-infused patty of medium rare beef acheives both meldings and contrasts of flavor that make you taste something new in every bite. We swear there is something fruity in there (fig jam?) by the time we are halfway through. Whatever all the individual ingredients actually are, this is a burger to be savored.

Craftsman LogoAnd while the food may be reason enough to drop in, the beer is why you should plan to stay awhile. I enjoyed two incredible beers from the Pasadena-based Craftsman Brewing Company that evening at Father’s Office. My first was their Smoked Black Lager. I see this as the perfect alternative to a potentially heavy smoked porter (one of my absolutely favorite styles) for a backyard summer barbeque. While many beers that are black in color have charred or burnt flavors, and many smoked beers have the potential to be a bit harsh on the palate, there are no such distractions here. Rich roasted flavors with just the right touch of woody smokiness permeated what is actually a relatively light in body and easy to drink brew. Plus, this beer goes just perfect with the bacon and blue cheese of the burger.

My second beer from Craftsman was their totally original Triple White Sage. Think champagne meets Thanksgiving, but in the most delicious way. Yes, you can smell and taste the sage in this beer, but for as strange as it sounds, it matches perfectly with the both sweet and dry qualities of this Belgian-inspired ale. Without the sage, this brew reminds me of some of the best beers I’ve had the pleasure to taste… Tripel Karmilett, Saint Sylvester Trois Monts, and Brooklyn Local 1. But with the sage, it transforms an already potentially incredible beer into something completely unique and amazing.

While Germany and the Czech Republic are wonderful historic centers of brewing, and brewing in the U.S. has grown by leaps and bounds since the start of the craft beer movement, ask any true beer connoisseur what the ideal destination is for beer, and the reply will most likely be Belgium. The relatively tiny country of Belgium (about the size of Maryland) is home to well over a hundred breweries, among them some of the most renowned, unique and eclectic in the world. Saison, lambic, gueze, dubbel, tripel, and witbier are among over a dozen styles initially created by Belgian brewers.

It’s no wonder that many American brewers have looked to Belgium for inspiration. Phil Markowski, Brewmaster at Southampton Publick House, has created his own take on a classic Belgian Wit (a.k.a. White) beer. Southampton Double White Ale is essentially a double-strength (7.2% ABV) rendition of the traditional Belgian wheat beer brewed with orange and coriander. It has a perfume-like floral and spice aroma, and a rich golden slightly hazy hue. A taste starts with clover-honey sweetness, followed by the distinctive citrus and spice flavor, with notes of white raisins. Tiny bubbles of carbonation lighten the slightly syrupy mouthfeel. Altogether, a complex, rich, yet refreshing brew. Typically released during summer, the relatively high alcohol means it will keep just fine through winter.

And while beer may be the beverage of choice in Belgium, the national dish of Belgium is mussels. So what better pairing for a Belgian-style ale than mussels steamed in beer?

Mussels in White Ale
(Makes 2 main courses, or 4 appetizer portions)

3 strips of bacon, chopped
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 cup chopped fennel bulb
1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups of beer
(I used 1 cup Southampton Double White and 1 cup amber lager, but feel free to experiment with different Belgian-style ales)
2 lbs mussels, scrubbed with beards removed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons sour cream

Cook bacon in heavy pot over medium-high heat until browned, then add butter. Heat the butter until foam subsides. Then add onion, fennel, tomatoes, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper to the pot, stirring occasionally until vegetables get soft, about 5 minutes.

Add beer and bring to a gentle boil. Add mussels to the pot, and cover, stirring occasionally. Once mussels open wide, in about 5 minutes, remove open mussels from pot and transfer to a bowl. Discard any unopened mussels. Remove pot of remaining broth from heat, and add mustard and sour cream, whisking until combined. Divide mussels between 2-4 bowls, and then pour the broth over the top.

Perfect with a glass of Double White, or whatever Belgian-style beer you used for the broth. This makes a hearty, warming, but not too heavy meal on a cold winter’s day, but is equally enjoyable any time of year.

Beer Quote

“The Good Lord has changed water into wine, so how can drinking beer be a sin.”
                                                                    – Sign near a Belgian Monastery

It’s a chilly winter day here in the Northeast… freezing, in fact, quite literally at 32-degrees.  Not exactly a good day for a backyard barbeque.

Ah, but wouldn’t those tangy, smoky flavors warm your insides on such a cold and dreary day?  How about a beer that can capture that in a bottle?  Stone Smoked Porter does just that.  It pours a dark rich opaque chocolate brown, and the roasted, smoky aroma gives a hint of the delicious taste to come.  The flavor is initially sweet and chocolatey followed by a flavorful but not too potent smokiness that reminds me of a cozy fireplace or campfire, and slight hints of alcohol warm the insides.  Some earthy notes of birch and sarsaparilla come through, while the finish is slightly charred, which perfectly complements and completes the smoked flavor.

For a simple meal, I paired this with some barbequed pulled pork from my local Whole Foods Market.  Pretty good in a pinch, though some real ribs or brisket from the smoker would be even better.  I also think this would be an excellent match for a char-grilled steak.

While readers in Tennessee, North Carolina and all across the South have plenty of great barbeque joints to choose from, those like me in Northern New Jersey have a harder time. Luckily, Front Street Smokehouse on the industrial Elizabeth waterfront serves up some excellent authentic Memphis-style barbeque.  We even had the chance to see the smoker in action.  While it’s initially heated with gas, a combination of charcoal and hardwood are used to smoke the ribs, pork and chicken slowly in the rotisserie.  The pulled pork is tender and moist, and the smoked chicken glazed with raspberry jalapeno sauce is probably the best chicken I’ve ever had in a BBQ joint.  Unfortunately, no smoked porter to be found here, and not many craft beers at the bar, but there’s excellent birch beer on tap, and the mouthwatering smoked meat and delicious sides (tasty collards, homemade stuffing and cornbread) are well worth the trip off the beaten path.

Definition: Smoked Porter

This unique hybrid style of beer was invented in 1988 by Alaskan Brewing Company when they approached a local producer of smoked salmon about smoking some malt over alder wood in their smokehouse. While the traditional smoked rauchbier has been brewed for centuries, it was an obscure and little-known style outside its native Germany. Today, thanks to Alaskan Brewing’s experiment, dozens of microbreweries around the U.S. have rediscovered the delicious unique flavor of smoked beers, producing their own renditions of smoked porter and other smoked ales and lagers.

Trap Rock Restaurant & Brewery is not your typical brewpub. Their dinner menu lists gourmet delights such as Spicy Grilled Rare Tuna, Tempura Crusted Asparagus, and an Organic Pork Chop with Sour Cherry & Port Wine Glaze. No buffalo wings, nachos or even burgers to be found here*. There is even a rather extensive wine list. The decor is upscale Europe meets Aspen, with the feel of a refined ski-lodge. In fact, the only similarity one might find between this establishment and a typical brewpub are the huge stainless steel fermentation tanks on display in the front windows.

*Note: They do offer a Vermont Cheddar Burger on their lunch menu. But even most of their lunch fare could hardly be considered “pub grub”.

Beer aside, an evening here makes for a great dining experience. My parents treated my wife and I for my birthday, and it certainly is a very nice special occasion destination (between my wife treating me to dinner at Cafe D’Alsace and this dinner, I must admit I had quite a birthday this year!). The shrimp-stuffed lobster on special I ordered was excellent, and the vanilla-whipped parsnips that accompanied my wife’s tuna were an unusual but delicious twist. And by the way, the beer was quite good too.

I ordered a sampler: six beers served in mini-fluted pilsner glasses in a nifty wooden carousel. The Merlin’s IPA was full of assertive hop flavors of citrus and pine, a real treat for hop-heads. A distinctly red Hathor Red Lager was tangy and complex, with a slight sourness in the finish, a truly unusual brew. The Colonial Porter brewed with molasses may have been my favorite, sweet and chewy with a nice roasted finish.

But the real surprise here was their Ghost Pony Helles Lager. Keep in mind, I’m not a big pale lager fan, maybe because so many big American pale lagers are relatively bland and flavorless. Their Ghost Pony, however, was sweet and bready balanced with a drying finish and just the right touch of European noble hops in the end. It truly won me over, and will keep me open-minded to trying pale lagers again. And with so many delicious seafood dishes on the menu, the Ghost Pony was one of the only beers they offered that was subtle enough to not overpower them.

It is wonderful to find a brewpub where beer-lovers like me can actually find fine dining as well. People who might turn their nose up at a typical brewpub would dine here. But hopefully they will look past the wine list and order a nice ale or lager which will possibly win them over to the world of well-crafted beer.

Definition: Helles Lager (or Munich Helles Lager)

The German answer to a Czech Pilsner, it’s a light-colored all-malt lager (as opposed to mass-market American lagers that use corn and/or rice as an adjunct to the malted barley) where one can taste the grainy, bready character of the pale malted barley. European noble hops are used with a more heavy-hand than American lagers (but not quite as hopped as a Czech Pilsner) for a disctinctive but not too assertive spicy finish. Pairs well with mild cheeses, seafood and lighter chicken and pork dishes.

Going down your Christmas list (or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Winter Solstice list), and you’re having a tough time deciding what to give your beer-loving friend (or dad or uncle or boss or cousin Gertrude). Sure, there’s bottle openers, bottle cozies, beer coolers or even just a six-pack with a bow. But what about a gift that truly inspires the beer-lover in your life.

The Ultimate Beer Roadtrip

American Beer is a documentary about a group of friends who pile into a minivan with camera in hand to trek across the country with the goal of visiting 38 breweries in 40 days. While their adventures and hi-jinx are amusing, their interviews with some of the best brewers in America today will inspire the beer-lover in your life to taste some of the delicious brews described in this film, and possibly take some road-trips of their own to seek out great beer. Now available on DVD, it makes a great stocking-stuffer.

Beer Books

There seems to be more and more books about beer on the shelves every year, but there are a couple that truly stand out above the rest. Garrett Oliver, brewmaster at the Brooklyn Brewery, now offers The Brewmaster’s Table in paperback. My among my Best of the Year for 2005, the book offers an excellent history on various styles of beer, and mouth-watering descriptions on pairing beer with food.

Michael Jackson (the British beer expert, not the wacky American pop singer) has published a number of books in his years. The Great Guide to Beer is one of his better selections, cataloging five-hundred beers from around the world with tasting notes and some interesting trivia. The beer-lover in your life will enjoy checking off which beers they have tried, and which are still on their wish-list.

Brew their Own!

Almost every true beer-lover has dreamed of making their own brew. So why not help them accomplish this goal? For between $80-$100, most homebrew shops can supply you with a basic starter kit that supplies just about all the equipment needed for making batches of homebrewed beer. Add $20-$35 for an ingredient kit that will make 5 gallons of beer (approximately 48 bottles). I’m sure your appreciative friend or loved-one will be more than happy to share their homebrewed beer, so consider this the ultimategift that keeps on giving“!

And while there’s a number of great on-line resources for purchasing homebrewing equipment & supplies, I highly encourage you to visit your local homebrew shopwhen starting off. They can provide advice and guidance on what and what not to buy, and plenty of tips to pass along to the recipient of your gift on making their very first batch. To find your nearest homebrew shop, visit: http://www.beertown.org/homebrewing/shops.asp

And if buying the whole homebrewing kit is a little out of your price range, inspiration can come in a smaller package at a smaller price. Charlie Papazian’s The Complete Joy of Homebrewingis the original, worry-free, entertaining guide to brewing your own beer at home. While there have been dozens of books on homebrewing published since Charlie issued his first edition, his “Relax, Don’t Worry, Have a Homebrew”philosophy is a great way to start down the road to brewing beer at home.

A Very Special Beer

Fuller's Vintage AleFavorite beers are a very subjective matter of personal taste. But I can suggest a couple of truly unique beers that would make a great gift for many beer-lovers. First is Fuller’s Vintage Ale. This bottle-conditioned brew is released in limited quantities each year, and is well-suited for aging. Not only does the beautiful presentation remind one of a fine scotch, but the flavors that develop over the years will remind one of a scotch as well.

Samichlaus is a very special brew, brewed only once a year on December 6th. Although no longer the “strongest beer in the world”, at 14% ABV (alcohol by volume), it may be the strongest lager-style beer to be brewed. Another beer well-suited for aging, it is truly one-of-a-kind.

Cheers to Happy Holidays!

Cafe D'AlsaceWhen it comes to fine dining, many establishments have a sommelier to help you navigate the often complex and confusing world of wine. Cafe D’Alsace on Manhattan’s Upper East Side is more than likely the first restaurant in America, perhaps the world, to have a dedicated Beer Sommelier. With 120 beers on hand, and styles ranging from French Bière de Gardes to Belgian Tripels to German Doppelbocks, the choices can be overwhelming. And when it comes to matching the wonderful Alsacian cuisine with just the right brew, Avi (a.k.a. Aviram Turgeman) is just the man for the job.

For our meal, he started me out with a snappy Tripel Karmeliet, a Belgian Abbey-style ale whose distinct character comes from the three grains used for brewing this beverage… wheat, barley and oats. It was served in a huge bulbous glass from the brewery itself that showed off its tremendous head and allowed me to get my nose right into the glass to appreciate the spicy, citrus hop aroma. A very nice appertif for cleansing the palate, that also went quite well with the appetizer of warm potato salad.

To find a beer that would compliment both my dinner of Choucroute Garnie (sausages, back bacon and pork loin) and my wife’s Trout in Riesling sauce could be a difficult task. But Avi’s recommendation of Trois Monts, a complex champagne-like Bière de Garde, was an excellent pairing for both dishes.

Of course, one true test of a beer sommelier would be finding the perfect beer for with dessert. As a chocolate-lover, I couldn’t resist the Trio of Chocolate (chocolate creme, chocolate tart, and an intensely-chocolately dark chocolate gelato.) My first choice would have been Lindeman’s Frambois, a delicious raspberry beer to complement the chocolate. But Avi said he had just the beer for my chocolate dessert, and delivered a bottle of Sinebrychoff Porter on the house, an excellent deep-roasted Finnish Baltic-style Porter that paired with dark chocolate better than I could ever imagine.

Definition: Baltic Porter (updated 12/29/06)

A Porter is a dark, richly roasted ale that originated in England and is the grandfather of what we know today as Stout.  English porters brewed for export were stronger and with more hops in order to survive the sea voyage from England across the North Sea to the Baltics, Scandinavia and Russia.  So when the Baltic states started brewing their own porters, their renditions reflected the English exports.

These Baltic Porters are a more robust, higher alcohol (7% or more) take on the porter style.   Scandinavian Baltic Porters are typically brewed as ales (with top fermenting yeast), while Slavic and Baltic breweries typically use lager yeast for their porters (bottom fermenting yeast, brewed at cooler temperatures).

For more information on porters, read my article found here.