"This is a beer style that is very close at heart for me. Drinking Porter beers made me realize how complex and diverse beer could be and for a couple of years I was obsessed with everything that had to do with Porter beer. I was reading everything I could find about the history and origin and tasting as many different kind of Porters as I could. This is when I stumbled across the Baltic Porter and it got my attention as it stood out from the rest with it's complex history and flavours. For me, it was one of the most mysterious beer styles that I had come in contact with. When I started brewing my own beer I was almost afraid of doing my own version of the Baltic Porter.
Being based in Gothenburg, we have a special relationship to the Baltic Porter. Sweden's oldest still active beer brand, Carnegie Porter, is brewing a weaker version of a Baltic Porter, which is still full of flavour. Or atleast it was, until Carlsberg in 1976 moved the production from the harbour in Gothenburg to one of their big production facilities, which unfortunately resulted in a beer of much lower quality. Making our own version of Baltic Porter is in it's own way a tribute to Gothenburg and it's place in history as a city with one of the best beers of Scandinavia."
(Brewmaster Olle Andersson’s own words on the Baltic Porter)
The pitch black Baltic Porter is the latest addition to O/O Brewing's steadily growing range of beers. Baltic Porter is a beer style indigenous to northern Europe. It is similar to the English Porter, originating from the strong Porters and Stouts that were shipped to the Russian empire throughout the 1800s. The Baltic Porters are usually very dark in colour with high notes of coffee and chocolate flavour.
The dark beer with its Baltic provenance, with shores facing the Baltic Sea, led us think about the work of artist Karen Gunderson:
Widely collected in Hollywood and New York, artist Karen Gunderson is perhaps best known for her work since the 1980s, when she transitioned from painting in color to working only in black. Over her forty-plus-year career, Gunderson has tackled subjects from clouds to royalty to the cosmos. Her long-developed, labor intensive technique, including rigorous brushwork and paint layering, employs a range of black shades that create a unique three-dimensional effect: The multiple textures from the paint catch light and make the paintings shimmer and appear to move, alternating with shadows and highlights that illuminate her subjects—historic royal figures, bodies of water, mountains, and constellations—depending on how the viewer moves in front of each artwork.
(An excerpt from ’Karen Gunderson’, written by author and critic Elizabeth Frank)
We have long admired Gunderson’s edge-to-edge paintings of black seas and when O/O started to plan the release of their pitch black Baltic Porter, she was the perfect match. Consequently, we approached Gunderson which led to a collaboration for the Baltic Porter labels, for which we used her painting 'Churning Grace - Out to Sea'.