Editor's Note: So many beers, so little time. One Big Bottle will spotlight the brews we're sipping, one by one.

20110225balticfoothillsbottleshot.jpgBaltic Porters almost always give me grounds for nitpicking. I often find the taste too cloying or the alcohol too harsh—one element or another usually throws the beer out of whack. Foothills Brewing's Baltic Porter is a well-balanced exception. Last August, the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based brewery released a second batch of their GABF 2006 gold and 2007 silver medal-winning beer to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Pop The Cap, a law allowing North Carolina brewers to brew beers above 6% ABV.

The limited-edition beer is an opaque, almost-black pour that produces a dense, half-inch khaki head in the glass. Powdered cocoa and dark fruit aromas mesh well with light roast and bready notes. Plum, raisin, and rich chocolate flavors intensify as the porter warms in the glass. There are some roast and coffee notes that complement the beer's earthy hops and balance its fruity sweetness.

Foothills Baltic Porter doesn't hide its 9% ABV, but it's not downright boozy either. The full and creamy texture makes for an elegant beer that's pretty darn wonderful now and will only mellow and improve with time. It would be an excellent companion to chocolate cake or a simply prepared steak, but honestly, on a cold February evening it does just fine on its own.

About the Author: Jonathan Moxey is a Harlem-based homebrewer. He hosts private beer tastings for Tapped Craft Beer Events.

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