Counting Down

Baltika #6 : Pivzavod Baltika / Baltic Beverages Holding: Porter

“I’m looking for my beer.”

I’m always looking for a good beer recommendation.  Availability is a good recommendation.  And beer is always available at our local supermarket, Pioneer.  It’s a crowded, dusty place, with tight aisle, shelves crammed with products, and luxurious beer selection.

“Where’s my beer?”  And the Pioneer clientele can be as dusty, ragtag and eccentric as the place itself.  The grey man in the flannel shirt flips  a flank steak in the air as he pushes his free hand across the inventory.  He twists bottle after bottle, quickly scanning the label, and catching the steak.  “Where’s my goddamned beer?”  Pioneer’s beer offering features enough variety that one could probably drink a different beer every day for a whole year without repeating.  That’s an idea…

“If they don’t have my goddamned beer, I don’ t need the f*ing steak.”  He pushes some Laguintas to the side and flings the steak into the depth of the shelf.

I don’t know what beer this flipsteaking lumberjack was looking for.  Perhaps I could have made a recommendation.  I had just picked up a bottle of Baltika #6 on the strength of a recommendation.  A guy wearing several jackets and carrying a bag of papers had pushed through the door ahead of me, strode to the beer display at the end of the first aisle, grabbed the first beer he saw, spun on his heels, his bag slamming into a shopping cart, and paid at the express line before I had even picked up a basket.  That’s a beer lover who knows what he wants and where to find.  That’s a recommendation.

But not much to recommend here. Unlike #8, #6 is puddled with lackluster taste.  Unlike the Polish contender’s dark version, this dark Russian is more moderate than a Soviet winter is harsh.  There’s no real salt in the water, no sweetcream in the malt, no darkness in the soul.

Rating: 41%

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