Brew Review: Zywiec Porter

18 Oct

Brew: Zywiec Porter

Brewed by: Zywiec Breweries PLC (Heineken) (Zywiec, Poland)

Style: Baltic Porter (9.5% ABV)

Came across this brew in my local store and said hey, this one was pretty darn good, why not give this Eastern European porter a try?  The nice this about the Zywiec was that the price tag was considerably less than the Sinebrychoff, I don’t remember exactly how much but I would guess maybe 2-3 dollars for a 500mL bottle.  I don’t know much about Zywiec Breweries other than they are owned by Heineken and that they make only 2 beers total that their website shows.  Not super impressive but hey, its shipped to MN for some reason so there has to be a following or a decent beer in the bottle for that to happen.

Zywiec poured out a dark rich-looking black.  It definitely looked like a Baltic porter or a stout, in my opinion they pretty much look the same anyway.  The beer produced a big light tan head that was comprised of tight bubbles that made it look pretty thick.  A solid looking Baltic porter, I was ready to try this one.

The aroma of this brew is somewhat subdued.  It held the traditional roasted malt aspects nicely and some sticky sweet malt features were there as well.  Not much by way of hops, although I don’t think the style is known for having many hops.  From what I know the Baltic porter was meant to ship across the Baltic sea and therefore had a high ABV content to make the trip which usually ended up just masking any bad flavors or imperfect brewing practices.  So I think the alcohol was the preservative in this beer instead of hops in an IPA, for example.  Either way, I also picked up some vanilla in the brew as well.  For the most part this was a rich smelling beer but nothing really jumped out at me.

By no means was I less excited to try this beer though after smelling it.  Upon the first sip it was smooth and creamy with a slight bitterness from the roasted and burnt grains.  I really liked how this beer tasted right up front.  Once I got into it after a few drinks I found myself wishing for more of a roast character and presence.  The taste was a tad restrained I thought on that front.  I really enjoyed how smooth and creamy it was and there were hints of coffee and chocolate throughout. 

For how much and how big this beer is I liked it a lot.  I actually went out and bought a few more bottles for those nights when I come home and just want something nice to warm me up.  It was a great example of the Baltic porter and it really didn’t push any boundaries with anything.  The roast character was nice and the mouth feel was excellent.   I would go find yourselves one of these if you like dark roasty beers.

Final Grade: A-

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