Microbrasserie Les Trois Mousquetaires - Porter Baltique

Microbrasserie Les Trois Mousquetaires - Porter Baltique

Beer Club featured in Rare Beer Club


Baltic Porter



Alcohol by Volume:


Microbrasserie Les Trois Mousquetaires - Porter Baltique

  • ABV:

  • Serving Temperature:

    50-55° F
  • Suggested Glassware:

    Pint Glass or Mug
Baltic Porter is a favorite style of ours, though they’re not particularly easy to come by, so we revel in the chance to try a new one, and Porter Baltique from Canada’s Les Trois Mousquetaires is a gem. Baltic Porter is so named because of its history of being sent to and later brewed in countries bordering the Baltic Sea (notably Finland, Poland, Sweden, Estonia and Lithuania). Derived from English porters but influenced by Russian Imperial Stouts, the origins of the style were produced in the UK and shipped across the North Sea, typically as alcoholically ramped up porters with more roastiness and smokiness, which frequently masked brewing imperfections not uncommon in the late 1700s when the style gained popularity. Many of the local breweries in the Baltic nations ended up producing their own, and these tended to be less roasty and sweeter, but still quite strong. Porter Baltique is a mainly traditional version that evokes those still produced around the Baltic today—but at 10% ABV, it’s among the strongest available. It pours deeply dark brown beneath a massive, dense mocha-colored head. This beer has a complex aroma; expect everything from prunes, plums and other dark fruits, leather, tobacco, chocolate, caramel, wood (oak?) with a touch of smoke and almonds in the back. The flavor is rich with notes of molasses, brown sugar, coffee, chocolate, cherries, dates and impressions of leather and wood. Look for dark rum notes as it warms. A slight woody, peppery spice note offsets the sweetness quite nicely. Finishes with a lingering smokiness and mild damp woodiness and an earthy quality (dare we suggest dustiness?) that reminds us of settling in with a very, very old book—especially a leather-bound one. This beer is exceptionally well done, and tough to come by, even in Quebec where it’s made—so stock up on this sipper. Porter Baltique is also a great cellaring beer that, treated right, will be around for many years to come, picking up some port and madeira wine qualities after a couple years in the bottle.
Microbrasserie Les Trois Mousquetaires (The Three Musketeers Microbrewery) was founded in 2004, and while they began with a focus on creating traditional German-style beers, they’ve definitely applied their own North American treatment. As you'll find in the Porter Baltique featured this month, they're not afraid to mix tradition with creative interpretation. Part of their flexibility in this regard lies in their approach to brewing; as head brewer Jonathan Lafortune states himself, "I don't come from the microbiology branch of brewing, I'm more like a chef in a kitchen. The recipes come from my senses, my heart and my passions. I'm an Epicurean." So then, who are the three musketeers? It’s a bit complicated… Like the heroes of Alexandre Dumas, there are in fact four of them. Jonathan we've already mentioned, though he wasn't actually onboard at the start—he joined the brewery about seven months after it was founded, as the fourth musketeer. While not technically one of the founding musketeers, his coming on board so early permitted him to develop all the beer recipes they currently brew. Sylvain Plourde, Daniel Pion and a third fellow (the original brewer who introduced Jonathan into the mix, and later left the company) were the original three "musketeers" who founded the brewery in June of 2004. The three were coworkers at the famous Imperial Tobacco Montreal. However, when the company closed its Montreal branch in June of 2003, they were all out of work. Right around the same time, they got word of a brewery for sale and decided to take the plunge into the brewing industry. These days, Sylvain handles the accounting and Daniel helps with the production and brewing process. From what Jonathan tells us, these two are mechanical geniuses—even building their own bottling line! (Anyone who's in the brewing field or has seen these complex machine-beasts in action will realize what a feat of technical mastery this is.) The “new” fourth musketeer is a fellow named Patrice (we didn't get a last name), who is actually the brewery's first "employee," serving in the sales capacity along with Jonathan and Daniel. Like many brewers, Jonathan Lafortune got his start in brewing as a beer connoisseur. He wanted to improve his skills in tasting the nuances of beer, so he took to homebrewing to expand his knowledge of ingredients and flavors. His entry into professional brewing happened when his friend, the original Les Trois Mousquetaires brewer, asked him if he wanted to brew professionally—he said yes, and got in on the gig. And we have to say, having gone from homebrewer to professional brewer in such a short span of time, this guy's got a real gift. In the past five years, he's created about three dozen beers, ranging from light lager to weizenbock to Sticke ("secret") Alt to smoked Scotch ale, and some claim he created a new style known as “Imperial Weizen.” Most of these beers have only been made available on draft at area bars, with very limited bottling. As for this month’s featured beer, only about 120-150 bottles of the 2011 vintage will be brought into the country, outside of what our members receive through the Rare Beer Club, so sip, savor and enjoy!
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