Happy (belated) International Baltic Porter Day!
A week late or so, but I promise you’ll forgive me when you taste the new Koffie & Toffee (Coffee and Toffee, no surprises there) from De Molen. February and March seem to me the perfect time for a baltic porter with its dark stout-like malts but with a lighter body- for days when the sun is beginning to come up a teeny bit earlier, but where your morning coffee is probably still engulfed in darkness. This might sound strange, but I do associate them with seafaring (maybe thanks to the Baltic Sea part of its history and naming) so I may also just keep a bottle until International Talk Like A Pirate Day to celebrate that occasion equally as well.
From the off there are recognisable coffee aromas, really tasting like a coffee bean itself, with a light caramel touch which leads into the more bitter malt experience. The toffee comes in subtly on the back of your tongue- not overwhelmingly sticky or sweet, but enough to accentuate the fullness of the coffee and provide a small boost- a bit like having a toffee coin with a cup of coffee, now I come to think about it. I also find the use of hallertau blanc hops interesting- this daughter variety of cascade provides a slight grassiness to play against the dominant coffee notes.
The beer has a medium body, and in spite of the rich flavours used still an effervescent and bubbly character to it- typical of Baltic Porters, but not quite what I was expecteing when I saw the name! The contrast is welcome though; right up until the final taste which remains sparkling with heavy coffee overtones.
In all honesty, I would rarely reach for a Baltic Porter but this has convinced me I should give them a go more often- it’s a subtle yet impactful twist on a great style. I’d recommend for anyone who loves the style (obviously), and for someone who wants to try something new but isn’t too daring. I do intend to keep my remaining bottle for the aforementioned holiday, though I now fear it may be gone by the time I pick up my eyepatch on the 19th of September. Cheers me hearties!