852: Zywiec Porter

Name: Żywiec Porter
Brewery: Grupa Żywiec
Country of Origin: Poland
City & State: Żywiec, Poland
Style: Baltic Porter
Alcohol Content (ABV): 9.5%
First Brewed: 1881
Price: $2.39

Tasting Notes
As dark as a moonless night. Chocolate, mocha coffee, roast barley, and vinous fruits all jostle for attention on the palate. Creamy mouthfeel with a bitter, dry finish.

Ricky’s Thoughts

There are only two beers from this brewery on our list, and this one has been staring at me every time I open the fridge. This is one of my favorite beers of ALL time! I know, I know… I never say that. But I would put this one in my top 5. It’s cheap, too. For a 9.5% beer that has been aged this long and has been shipped so far… for $2.39 (at Sun Devil Liquors) this is a great beer. Anyway, I am excited to be drinking another Żywiec Porter. I bought two bottles the last time I was at Sun Devil, and didn’t even realize it was on the list. Glad I saved this bottle! Or maybe I just need another trip to Sun Devil Liquors.

In the Glass: Pitch. Black. This is VERY dark, and has a very nice frothy tan head. The lace is decent, too as the beer just hangs on for dear life as I swirl this around the glass. Funny thing is, I don’t remember drinking this very often in Poland. The first time I had it I ordered it because I didn’t know what it was… and immediately fell in love. It felt thinner in Europe for some reason. But that was a few years ago. Today it looks nice and thick. As always, we are drinking this right out of the fridge.

Nose: I immediately pick up some copper notes and then finish with some dark fruits/burnt chocolate aromas. I have had a few Baltic porters lately, but nothing compares to this. Until today I didn’t realize the process was so intense. The aging and everything… but maybe that is what makes a porter a Baltic porter. A second whiff has me smelling some more intense copper notes and has me drooling for a drink.

Flavor: The flavor is, at first, weak and somewhat dry. Then as you start to swallow the expected porter flavors rush to the top of the tongue. This is WAY too cold, but a quick swish in your mouth will have your entire palate excited and ready for another sip. The copper notes that I was smelling are there, and they are obvious. Not like I am sucking on a penny, but close.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is pretty boring, to be honest. I don’t drink this for the mouthfeel. I drink this for the aftertaste. So let’s just get to the aftertaste… the best part of this beer!

Aftertaste: A lot of Irish stouts claim to be “dry”. They will even say “dry” on the side of the box. But very few are actually dry. This one… this one is VERY dry. The finish is so dry, I can see some people taking one drink and never ordering this beer again. But that is why I like it. I like the dry finish. That is what I like in a gin martini, too. I use extra dry vermouth when I mix one of those. Oh, and bleu cheese stuffed olives are the best!

The Żywiec Porter is a very nice porter that has a fantastic finish. The aftertaste is great, and it brings back memories of being in Poland. I will say, this beer gets better as it heats up. If I were to buy this one again (and I will) I will freeze a glass and pour it in room temperature. You don’t want to ruin the flavor of a beer by chilling it. There should be a public service announcement about beer temperatures.

If you can get your hands on this, do. It’s a great porter for a great price. Remember, it’s 9.5% ABV! Bottoms up, people.

Żywiec Porter – The bottle says: “NA”

Rating: 5/5

Sheryl’s Thoughts

Ricky always talks about drinking beer from this brewery when he was in Poland.  He really likes it, but maybe it’s just the whole coolness factor of knowing you drank it in a foreign country?  I don’t really remember what beers I drank in Russia, but I don’t know that many of them were really Russian beers.  They were good European beers, though, better than the domestics that people drink in the U.S.

This beer is a porter, so as expected, it’s very dark and thick with a creamy tan head in the glass.  I don’t see any bubbles, but the beer is basically completely black, so I wouldn’t expect to.  I love porters, so hopefully this beer will be good.  The beer smells as I would expect a porter too as well – malty, chocolaty, and even a little bit smoky.  Mmm.  Ricky says this is good, so I’m expecting a lot from my first taste.  Let’s see how it turns out.

First taste… pretty good.  This is a nice porter.  This is kind of off-topic, but I’m having this beer with pizza.  Ricky and I visited a really great pizza place in Paris that had a pizza with mozzarella cheese, ham, blue cheese, and bananas on it.  It was so good that I’ve started attempting to create it at home and I make it a lot.  So that’s what I’m having this beer with right now.

I can taste a lot of the same flavors in the beer that I smelled in it.  It’s got some malt, some chocolate, and just a small hint of smokiness in it.  Ricky likes to let his beers warm up, and I do a little with beers like this, but not as much as him.  I don’t want my beers warm!  But I think this one is just the perfect temperature, as I’ve had it sitting out a few minutes.  The more it heats up, the more I taste the chocolate in it.  This is a good beer, and definitely one I would buy again.  Good job, Poland!

Rating: 5/5

851 bottles of beer on the wall…

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