Baltika 9 Extra Lager
Y ou can’t miss this beer when you walk in the store. It’s shrink wrapped with a sultry red-headed Russian woman wearing a black mink. What you can’t miss is the taste of this beer.
I was given a couple of cans for review and thought what a great time to pull the guys together for a tasting. I invited fellow Beer Brothers Mark and Brett to drop by so we could give Baltika 9 a try. Actually I had this beer before at a tasting at Ninth Street Wine at their very first beer tasting back in December (so did Mark).
This time we were tasting it from a new packaging format for the Augusta market: half-liter can. Now that’s 16.9 oz. Way bigger than a standard can but less than the 22 oz draft glass you get at happy hour. The packaging will grab your eye… but might get you dope slapped by your wife. (you can buy it at Summerville Ace).*
So I threw it on ice and let it chill before the guys arrived. We started with frosted pint glasses. Now I’ve left out a significant piece of info about this beer. It’s 8% alcohol. I might recommend that you not buy a six and take it to the company picnic and toss a couple back. Between the 8% and the larger size you might find yourself on YouTube doing the hula with underwear on your head.
Mark described it as “very familiar, like picking up an old comrade.” I told him that probably wasn’t PC now in Russia so he changed it to “picking up an old friend.” The old friend he was thinking of was Andeker a beer that hasn’t been made in a while. “This beer is not wild and crazy but definitely has a different taste. I guess this could be the Bud of Russia.”
“Coolest can I’ve seen” said Brett. Despite being 8% alcohol he added “you can’t taste the alcohol.”
For me this beer rem
inded me of some Christmas brews. But depending on which sip you are taking. This beer is a beer of different colors so to speak. The first taste and the second taste are different. On first taste it was very malty… or a slightly sweet malt. But the second taste then shifted to a light sweet fruit flavor especially on the aftertaste… but an exotic fruit, not something like raspberry. Now not in your face fruit or sweetness, a hint that reminds me of something like dates.
I asked the crew thumbs up or thumbs down? We all gave it a thumbs up. Much different from any mass produced American beer but a nice smooth lager. Without having been to Russia I don’t have any clue as to how this compares to the beer the average Russian drinks. Their website says this beer was first brewed in 1998 and that “Beer lovers immediately appreciated the novelty.” Now I have to wonder what they meant by “novelty”. Maybe it was unusual in that it was a good tasting Russian beer. But if you read their website you can tell that someone might have used a Russian to English translation guide. I think they are describing it as unique but compared to what?
So I’m going to quote the label on the shrink wrap…. “Meet the Russian Beer.” I think we just did.
*under full disclosure I maintain the Summerville Ace website.