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Chicagoist's Beer of the Week: Fifty Fifty's Rogue Baril Baltique

By Karl Klockars in Food on May 27, 2011 8:20PM

2011_05_27fiftyfiftybeer.jpg Chicago Craft Beer Week is cruising to its eventual finish, so for today's BotW I wanted to find something that would sum the whole thing up as best I could. Much of the press is going to events at the newer joints around town, like Haymarket, Fountainhead, Revolution and the like. Map Room is decently represented this week, but I feel like in the past year or so, the drinking community has let the Godfather of Chicago beer bars slide off the map a little bit. Let's change that, shall we?

I went to the Map Room looking for this week's "right" beer, which represented not just Chicago but the greater world of craft beer that's found itself here over the past ten days or so. I found that in the form of a beer from California's Fifty Fifty Brewing, brewed by former Flossmoor brewer Todd Ashman. It's a baltic porter that's spent 180 days in a French Cabernet Sauvignon cask, and it was on tap for the Brewers of Chicago Past event which also featured former Chicago brewers who now ply their craft at places like Southern Tier, Mickey Finn's and Three Floyds.

The beer is a Trojan Horse of a brew, sneaking in a ton of red wine flavor under cover of porter darkness. The brew pours deep mahogany with a tinge of crimson with a pillowy tan head atop. You might think you're getting a malty, bitter porter but this beer is tart, sharp, and more than a touch sour. It might not sound too inticing, but it works pretty well. Gently fizzy with carbonation and lightbodied, this 6.8% packs a subtle punch and opens up near the end to resemble (I shit you not) Wild Cherry Pepsi. A crazy-go-nuts beer with Chicago roots that came to us from across the country. What's more Chicago Beer Week than that?

Get it while you can, if you can. Fifty Fifty's Rogue Baril Baltique is Chicagoist's Beer Snob Beer of the Week.