Our Battle of the Baltics concludes (for now…) with Duck-Rabbit Baltic Porter. This is another selection from within our very own state, proudly brewed by Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery in Farmville, North Carolina. Founder/Owner/Brewmaster Paul Philippon was a philosophy professor before tackling the craft of the craft brew, and the thought-provoking logo which happens upon each Duck-Rabbit bottle appeared in one of his personal favorite philo books. Last but most definitely not least…on with it then.
The Duck-Rabbit pours the deepest of opaque blacks, producing a thick, foamy dark tan head; no light passes through this one! The aroma is brazenly delicious: sweet and well-roasted notes, chocolate, just a smidge of coffee, and dark fruit notes (fruit especially more pronounced as the brew warms). Most of the sweetness hits directly upfront with some of that dark fruit from the nose. The sweet chocolate aroma vanishes and is replaced in flavor by, at best, bittersweet cocoa, along with a goodly amount of deeply roasted coffee notes. In fact, once the initial sweetness phases through to a little alcohol and then on to the coffee, there you are from here on in–mega roasted all the way, into the dawdling bitter-roasted aftertaste. Yes, brazen is a good word for this Baltic. Ladies and gents, if you are a fan of roasted flavors, cheers!
With such a high ABV (9%), you may need to take a nap after this one, voluntarily or involuntarily. The alcohol is considerably well masked, though it does tend to show up a bit more with warming, along with a slight medicinal taste. DRBP is smooth and on the full side of medium-bodied. The 4 star rating is giving the benefit of the doubt; it is more of a strong 3.5.
Duck-Rabbit Baltic Porter will probably not be available at the moment as it is usually released in the fall/winter months, but do not fret. If you can bear the heat for just a short while yet, cooling months are nigh! When it is released, DRBP will be available in Winston-Salem at City Beverage and Total Wine & More. Other locations could include Swaim’s Grocery, Fresh Market, Whole Foods, and perhaps even Harris Teeter, as Duck-Rabbit brews are stocked at these locations. For more on Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery, click here.
Being as this is the last installment for at least a little while, let us do a quick check on what we may have learned thus far about Baltic porters. Porters were the drink of the masses in eighteenth century England, particularly London. Check. Highly fortified with alcohol to make the trip to far eastern countries, such as Russia, these exported brews became so popular along “Baltic”* trade routes that local brewers began to make their own variations of these strong English porters/stouts with bottom-fermenting lagering yeasts. Check. Hence, the Baltic porter was born, and now you can begin your own personal Battle of the Baltics. Bottoms up!
*areas around the border between Europe and Asia named for the Baltic Sea