06/12/20223 min of reading

Beery Christmas Jour 6 : Põhjala Must Kuld Chai Latte

Põhjala brings beer to the wastelands

Located in Northern Europe and more precisely in Estonia in the capital city of Tallinn, Põhjala is a brewery that hasn't stopped showing its power since its creation in 2011. Translated as "Northern Land" or "Northern Region", Põhjala is a name that comes from Estonian and Finnish mythology, characterized by a cold and desolate northern land, where mythical characters live. This desolate land is the one of Estonia before the passage of the microbrewery, which has brought craft beer where there was almost nothing. Imagine the upheaval for the Estonians! However, before reaching this point, they had to build themselves up completely.

At the beginning, our four beer lovers and brewers who didn't know much about the functioning of a brewery did an internship at Brewdog and explained their plans to Chris Pilkington, the Scottish head brewer of Brewdog who joined them a few months later. A class act. Finally, it was two years later in 2013 that the brewery's first beer would be released as Öö Imperial Baltic Porter, a powerful dark beer that boasts 10.5 proof with roasted, coffee and chocolate notes. During this year, all brews were made through other breweries' facilities (as gypsy brewer) since it was not until 2014 that Põhjala completed the construction of its first brewery in the district of Nõmme, in the center of the Estonian capital. A few years later, Põhjala moved to a century-old former shipyard where submarines were made, in a seaside neighborhood of NorthTallinn called Noblessner.

As with many brewers, what they like to do is to experiment and rework existing styles by adding original ingredients or prolonging barrel aging. While they have a wide range, Põhjala is a brewery that specializes in dark, very dark and intensely flavored beers. Why do they do this? Because it's the cold weather that wants it. Because they bring warmth to the mouth and the body and especially because they are the ones that bind best with ageing to lead us towards spirit or wine flavours. Today, if their beers are so appealing, it is because they are inspired by their heritage such as local cuisine and nature. In short, to taste is to travel, so for the 10th edition of the Beery Christmas advent calendar, expect to see some country. 

Must Kuld Chai Latte, a rich and complex beer

Usually, a beer already gives a lot of info in its name, whether it's about its origin, its style or the ingredients it will use. Here, unless you are fluent in Estonian and already have the info, "Must Kuld" means "Black Gold", while "Chai Latte" is a Hindi term that refers to very sweet black tea, mixed with masala, a spice blend, as an accompaniment to milk. Põhjala likes be sensational, which is why they came up with this redesigned Must Kuld beer brewed with aromatic spices. When poured into a glass, it has a black color with a fine beige head and aromas of tea, spices, cardamom, ginger and cinnamon. On the palate, the texture is typical of a black beer with smoothness, a lot of softness for a full body without bubbles. This delicacy is accompanied by notes of milk chocolate, exotic spices with a touch of pepper, ginger, roasted malt, lactose and cinnamon. It's 7.8% alcohol which makes it a beer that's not too strong and not too weak either, in keeping with the whole thing which is very balanced. The Estonian microbrewery advises a tasting at a temperature of 12°C, with a chocolate cake and a vanilla ice cream. Classic, efficient.



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