Steel & Oak Baltic Porter: These folks have been consistently brewing interesting and high quality seasonal releases since they opened up so I felt their recently release Baltic Porter was worth of being my inaugural Local Beer of the Week recommendation. Baltic porter is a hybrid style of beer that generally crosses an ale inspired porter with a lager yeast that was traditionally brewed in countries surrounding the Baltic Sea. This particular beer was conditioned on licorice and brewed to a strength of 7.6% abv in local city New Westminster, BC. If you look now, you should be able to find this beer on shelves and likely still at the brewery for just a little while longer.
Aroma and Appearance: It pours a dark brown mahogany colour with two fingers of beige foam that creates just a bit of residual lacing on the glass as it goes down while hiding some small centered carbonation that’s only visible if you hold the beer up to some light. The aroma is notably sooty at first, with hints of campfire coals, burnt hay and creamy oatmeal throughout the rest of the nose.
Flavour: The beer starts of with an aroma matching sooty flavour accompanied by just the slightest hint of dark chocolate before it moves into a creamy middle that has the texture of fine silk as it rolls off your tongue. Upon the finish you’ll notice a modest earthy finish, with a touch of nettles and a balanced aftertaste of black licorice.
Overall Impression: Their Baltic Porter is well balanced and interesting without being overly complicated. The smooth texture and creamy middle is a real highlight and helps the beginning and end of the beer play together quite nicely.
Rating: I gave it a very good rating of 7.5/10, worthy of a pick up in the bottle, growler or on tap at the brewery itself.
Food Pairing: Brie cheese, grilled chicken or use it to make an awesome winter chili.
If the beer isn’t enough to convince you to visit Steel & Oak’s taproom, perhaps this view along the walkway in New Westminster will help solidify your decision. It’s a great place to spend some time with friends or family as there’s also lots to do nearby.