New Albanian Brewing Company is just across the river, but the toasted, malty, soul-warming flavors of its ‘Solidarity’ Baltic Porter originate from much farther still. A not-so-distinticly American interpretation of a Baltic Sea tradition, ‘Solidarity’ exists in tribute to the popular revolution that saw the overthrow of communist Poland in the 1980’s. And if how they’ve constructed their beer gives any clue as to New Albanian‘s thoughts towards those hardworking people, and perhaps us by extension, it’s that our favorite southern Indiana brewers intended for both parties to drink as much as they possibly can.
Poured from a 650ml bottle and paired with some Gruyere cheese, here’s the skinny on New Albanian‘s 8.5%abv ‘Solidarity’ Baltic Porter:
‘Solidarity’ pours with a super-deep, copper color and a clean, translucent body, but exceedingly saturated as to let through very little light. Its thin, micro-foamy, almond-colored head skirts around the rim of the glass, with an aroma bursting from bottom to top, with thick, dried fruit and maltiness swirling upwards towards wisps of toasted spice. Taking the first sip, New Albanian‘s concoction flashes in front with a fleeting wave of dark fruit and sweetish black malt, before quickly crashing to a cascade of chocolate malt and toasted spice that dominates the bulk of the palette. Upon further inspection, and especially as brought out by the Gruyere, it’s apparent that the aforementioned sweetness is in fact quite present throughout the brew’s body, that is until the very back, with the sweet tones finally crinkling to a toasty, bitter pop that lingers on the tongue. Overall mouthfeel is much less viscous than one might expect given the Porter’s boisterous flavor bouquet and punch-packing 8.5%abv, and yet, with its relatively high but well-cloaked carbonation, it can by no means be termed syrupy, and conversely (and thankfully), not quite too fizzy either.
True to its style, ‘Solidarity’ is a dark-bodied but surprisingly smooth, flavor-some explosion of malt, spice and plum, with little to no hops and plenty of warmth to go around. Not so true to style is the depth of the bouquet itself, which as opposed to its often quite complex and multi-layered cousins, comes off as brazenly delicious, but not much else. Bridging the gap between these highs and lows, and perhaps most telling as to New Albanian’s intentions for ‘Solidarity’, is the fact that there is something about this beer that is undeniably drinkable. Give this brew to a person who might typically think of a Porter as being too “thick” for them. Grab some for yourself if a highly palatably, not exceedingly challenging, but let’s not forget tasty, local original is something for which you might be savvy.
Even more information on New Albanian Brewing Company and its products available via the brewery’s website.
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