Well, I don’t know what happened to the text of “Firkin Friday and One Guy Saturday,” so I’ve tried to recreate the post and will break it up into two posts. We’ll see what happens.
Firkin Friday at Selin’s Grove Brewing Company was the impetus for traveling north on Friday. I was looking forward to an evening at the pub with fresh beer off the firkin (even though they didn’t announce what it would be until that day…I knew it would be great!) Unfortunately, I got out of work late and almost missed my chance at this wonderful tasting opportunity. The weather was just terrible in central Pennsylvania – heavily pouring freezing rain made the world miserable, so I couldn’t wait to get inside the cozy confines of SGB and enjoy some fresh Organic Baltic Porter.
Friends Brandi and Jeff got there first, and when I approached their table, they exclaimed that the firkin had kicked – behind me I saw guys tipping it forward to get the last drips into a glass and my spirits just fell. Jeff offered me a taste from his glass, but I thought I should speed up to the bar just to be sure it was gone. At the bar, I found my good friend in beer, Jeff Reed, who was finishing one of several glasses he had of the porter, and saint that he is, he offered me the single, full glass he still had in front of him.
The Organic Baltic Porter was served in a tulip glass, and had absolutely no head and no lacing. The appearance was that of unfiltered apple cider. Light filtered through the very top edges of the beverage, and the rest of the glass had a muddy thickness to it (in my head, I was thinking “is this Mudpuppy Brown?!?!”) Coming from the firkin, it was the perfect temperature and drank like a breakfast juice, with a smooth, light mouthfeel.
The flavor was atypical for a Baltic Porter. There were no hints of smokiness, roastiness, or coffee. It was fruity and spicy, with flavors of plum, caramelized brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla…maybe a little sweet chocolate from the alcohol in the start, but finished with a sour fruit and yeasty flavor. Many of the flavors took me back to fall and the SGB Pumpkin Ale.
I didn’t ask this year, but the December 1, 2006 firkin tapping of Baltic Porter at SGB contained 100% Amarillo hops. I can’t confirm this year was the same, but the light hoppiness that was present in the taste was really pleasant – not bitter, but complimentary to the fruit/spice tones. Hopefully this will show up on the hand pump in the near future and I can ask more questions!
In addition to the porter, I enjoyed a “shorty Frosty” (Olde Frosty IPA is still on…yum, yum!) and a glass of Razzmerry, and even more, I enjoyed hanging out and talking to other enthusiasts. Despite the weather, the place was generally crowded – a table of ten from Harrisburg, many of the regular firkin enthusiasts, and a steady flow of traffic. A special thanks to my parents who showed up unexpectedly and let me impose on them for a ride home!