Monday, October 1, 2012

Beer Review: Zywiec Porter

This one's a tongue-twister even before you've caught its surprisingly strong buzz. Pronounced "je-vi-ets" according to a quick Google search, this is probably the single most frequently consumed beer in my house. If I'm to believe the bottle, this recipe has been unchanged since 1881 when presumably some awesome guy in Poland decided to make a better porter than all the craft beer nerds would make 130+ years later. One of the best parts of drinking this beer is imagining men with excellent mustaches drinking this back in the old country. In order to get a proper sensation of a time gone by, I'm listening to Ulver's legendary "Kveldssanger." It's not Polish, but much like this beer, it's an archaic recipe in a modern context and the two go perfectly together.

As I said before, I drink this beer more often than I drink any other beer. It isn't my absolute favorite beer on earth, but it's incredibly delicious and drinkable, as well as retailing for a measly $2.99 at my local market. This beer is so dark it's almost a stout, but it's got the malty sweet aftertaste of a strong porter. Upon pouring this beer, you'll notice a dense coffee color and a thin head. There are almost no bubbles and the scent is rich and earthy in the best of ways. This beer is surprisingly smooth for such a dark, thick beer, and if I weren't careful I'd drink it like water. The thing that prevents me from destroying cases of this liquid at a time is the fact that this beer has an alcohol content of 9.5% hidden somewhere in all that delicious flavor. There's none of the bitterness or strong alcohol flavor of most beers this potent. I usually share a bottle with my partner and we're both quite content with the portioning that way.

I know this beer doesn't have all the exciting packaging or clever marketing that most modern craft beers have. Honestly, it doesn't need it. I'm usually a sucker for a well-marketed beer, but I'm glad this one made its way into my hands. My brother in beer, Derek, shared the word of Zywiec porter with me months ago and since then I've rarely been without it in my fridge. I'm pretty sure it's distributed by Heineken in the US, so it should be relatively easy to obtain. If not, talk to the manager of your local beer purchasing establishment and inquire. It's worth the extra effort.

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