A UK beer blog BoakAndBailey has posted a round-up of Baltic Porters
. I left a comment, but decided to post it here as well.
Funnily enough nobody in Lithuania is probably even aware of such "version" as Baltic Porter
. Porters, stouts and other dark beers are not well-spread (while the same cannot be said about awful tasting strong lagers from 6.5% to maximum legal 9.5%, which are abound.) Given the predominantly sweet and straightforward taste of the dark ones I tried, I was never converted to a fan either.
This winter I bought a bottle of each dark beer available in local shop to refresh my memory. The verdict is that even though the overall quality has improved, little has changed in the taste and sweetness department. Nevertheless, I will actually enjoy another few pints of seasonal Horn Honey Porter
, Būtautų Dvaro Tamsusis, Baltika's No. 6 (7% porter from St. Petersbourg, Russia) and Utenos Porteris during the remaining cold months.
The major and some smaller breweries usually produce at least one sort of dark beer. Utenos Porteris may be the most known, Švyturys has discontinued it's Degintas ("Burnt") while my former local and still favorite brewery Kauno Alus
produces decent quality Senasis Porteris (”Old Porter”, 7%) and Biržiečių stout (8%) using “open fermentation”.
Another Kaunas' brewery Horn
(former name Ragutis
, it's an incredible shame to lose such a beautiful name for a brewery) releases seasonal Honey Porter (5.6%), whose toasted malt and caramel pleasantly interweaving with not-too-strong flavors of honey is good enough to my untrained tastebuds.
Kauno Alus, just as recreated Būtautų Dvaro brewery from Birzai, the traditional brewing region, are the only ones to my knowledge that bottle non-pasteurized
traditional beers. Būtautų Tamsusis (”The Dark One”, 6%) has a very strong malt presence, and is sold in neat 1 l bottles.
Biržų Alus brewery from the same region is one of the oldest in the country, established in 1686. Among a few interesting sorts
it produces dark Senovinis (”Olde”, 7.5%). I didn't try this one yet, not even during my trip to the beer region
, but I saw it being labeled as schwarzbier
, making it a German dark lager. Unfortunately this one, as well as many other beers from small traditional breweries are only available locally and only on tap. Two Šnekutis
bars serving traditional country-style beers recently opened in Vilnius, partially filling this gap.