Winners from the 2012 European Beer Star competition in Nuremberg, Germany were announced last week and Twisted Pine Brewing Company’s celebrated winter seasonal, Northstar Imperial Porter, was recognized on the international stage with a bronze in the Baltic-Style Porter category. For admirers who eagerly await the beer’s release each winter, the reward comes December 7th this year.
2012 has been an overall banner year for Twisted Pine’s annual winter warmer, which currently carries a 97 on ratebeer.com. In addition to the European Beer Star award, Northstar also took home gold over the summer at the Colorado State Fair where it received an honorable mention as runner-up for Best in Show. But this porter is no newcomer to the award circuit as that marks the beer’s second gold medal, and third overall, in State Fair competition since 2008. Rounding out the portfolio is a World Beer Cup silver, which the Boulder-based brewery won for Northstar in 2006.
President Bob Baile first brewed Northstar over ten years ago at the insistence of a close friend who had just returned from a trip overseas with the memory of Baltic-style porter clinging to his taste buds. If ever a beer was made for the cellar, much like its British predecessors, Northstar is it. Twisted Pine has successfully stored past editions of the ale for nearly a decade and attendees at this year’s sold-out vertical tasting will be treated to bottles of the 2004 batch to start things off.
Colored like French roast coffee with a head like latte froth, Northstar pours with a release of rich, fragrant caramelized malt aroma laced with swirls of dark chocolate. On the tongue, the porter spreads a creamy blanket of earthy, roasted sweetness followed gracefully by suggestive spices from a global array of hop varieties. 9.1% ABV is well-screened by an effortless finish, and the flavors only become more polished with age.
Northstar is being distributed in limited quantities throughout Colorado, as well as to select accounts in Texas and Florida. The strong sipper will be available on draft and in 22 ounce bottles in those markets. Twisted Pine’s ale house will officially release the beer with a big party on Friday, December 7th at 4 pm.