Dominion Baltic Porter is the new Winter release from Old Dominion Brewery, still of Ashburn, Virginia.
Dominion Baltic Porter pours a dark cola-like color. The beer is not opaque, and shows some red around the edges. There's a thick beige head that slowly drops to a thin persistent ring. The aroma is fairly mild, consisting mostly of lightly roasted malt and coffee. There's a faint alcohol presence coming through in the aroma. The taste is roasted coffee balanced with lightly sweet malt. Hop bitterness is reserved. A mild licorice flavor is also noted. The roasted malt flavors linger in the finish. Mouthfeel is light, with an oily finish and low carbonation. The flavor profile is not extreme, but presents a nice balance that should appeal to many people.
I paired my glass of Dominion Baltic Porter with a plate of mixed cheeses. I had some Dubliner, Sharp Cheddar, and Chipotle pepper cheeses, along with some rye and wheat crackers. The combination made for an enjoyable evening meal. The 7.0% alcohol level in the beer is well-masked and beer goes down quite easily, dangerously so in fact.
I continue to be impressed with the seasonal releases coming out of Old Dominion, and the Baltic Porter was no exception. There's been a lot of angst from local fans due to the recent changes at Old Dominion. This new beer shows that the brewers there are still producing good beer. It was interesting to see a bottling date of 11/20/08 stamped on the bottle. I first saw the beer on retail shelves just six days after that. I'm sure some places had it even sooner. That the beer is distributed so rapidly is a testament to the advantages of being a local brewery. Whether or not we'll still see that sort of distribution system once Old Dominion moves brewing operations to Delaware remains to be seen. Even more importantly, I hope the beers coming out of the new brewery location continue in the fine tradition we've come to expect from Old Dominion Brewing Company.