Updated on August 27, 2015
Impulse buy: 4 Pines Baltic Porter
I’m not usually an impulse buyer. But when I walked past a bottle shop on Tuesday and saw them advertising 4 Pines Baltic Porter, I couldn’t resist.
It’s one of 4 Pines’ Keller Door limited releases, and it’s been haunting my Instagram feed for a while now. I thought it must have been haunting my vision as well, with some sort of hallucination or mirage, when I saw it written in the window at Spiros, the humble-looking bottle shop at Paddington. But I blinked and did a double-take, and it turned out my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. I headed in and found that this unassuming little shop was a craft beer haven. The fridge was full of obscure and delightful beers from around Australia and the world. Unfortunately I was too dazzled to take a photo (that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it), but believe me when I say it was impressive. I stuck to my guns and got my 500mL Baltic Porter, and made a mental note to come back here with more time, money, and a bib to catch my drool.
The side of the bottle is enticing indeed:
“A gypsy show behind the iron curtain, in a bottle. You will be greeted by a slightly aggressive tutu wearing circus bear juggling ignited knives & riding a tricycle. A smug Cossack stands in the corner dousing himself in gooey chocolate syrup, looking on.
Smooth and warming with a rich, sweet body, this blend has been partially aged in French oak whisky barrels for 6 months to give it a unique complexity of light vanilla & earthy minerals.”
Now, I didn’t recognise those flavours. But that evening, I surprised my wife with a dark beer that smells like a red wine and tastes like a black coffee. Even with a partially-blocked nose, I was flooded with aromas and flavours that kept getting bigger as the beer warmed up, and left with a silky finish lingering on my tongue.
If you haven’t tried one yet—do. I won’t promise that you’ll get light vanilla and earthy minerals, or even red wine and coffee. But I will promise that every drop that passes between your lips will be life-giving.
Oh, and enjoy the great artwork on the label. You will indeed find a juggling bear on a tricycle and a gooey Cossack. I’m keeping the bottle.