Since I woke up this morning it has been rainy and miserable outside in downtown Toronto. I suppose it was going to happen at some point considering the past week of beautiful spring-like weather that we had been enjoying. So to make the most of it, I decided to consider what would be the best beer appropriate to enjoy during this sort of dreary day. I mean, everyone has a go-to for that hot sunny day, or the cold winter night – what about the mild and rainy days? What beer best satisfies that scenario?
The more I thought about it, the more that a rich and robust porter kept floating through my mind (and soon across my palate). I went into my cold cellar with the perfect beer for the moment in mind; Les Trois Mousquetaires Porter Baltique! I’ve had this Imperial Porter before, and last time I was in Quebec I made sure I bought several more. Les Trois Mousquetaires is a microbrewery in Quebec producing some amazing examples of classic beers; this Imperial Porter is my favorite so far. I’ve only ever seen it in the classic Belgium Style 750ml corked bottles, and it stands at a rich and full 10% abv.
It poured smooth and creamy forming a dark tan head that quickly subsided to leave only a thin film on the surface of the beer. Its color matched the day so perfectly; dark red to brown with a thick pitch black as the base. As you hold it up to a light you can see a ruby shimmer peering from the inside out. It definitely got me excited. The nose was also what I was looking for. First its quite pungent showing its strength, but it relaxed to bring out espresso beans, bitter cocoa, rum, molasses, vanilla, over ripe fruit, and an earthy almost tobacco finish. It was more complex on the nose than I expected – making me even more excited!
As I drank it, I was reminded of why I chose this beer in the first place. The beer brought a party of classic flavors to my palate; it opens with creamy fudge-like espresso, very dry yet matly sweet the whole time, flowing with light spice, rummy alcohol which was tamed by a molasses sweetness, lots of roast across my cheeks, and a clean bitter finish. It was smooth and much lighter than I had expected from a beer of this stature; but all the flavors are so well balanced it makes perfect sense. The combination of coffee, chocolate, cream and a touch of black liquorice does make this beer among my favorite porters, and is a classic in my mind.