Bock Day is this Friday, the 20th. I got started a little earlier, and this was actually a great way to really focus on the beer style.
According to Beer Advocate, which we love, bock is described as:
The origins of Bock beer are quite uncharted. Back in medieval days German monasteries would brew a strong beer for sustenance during their Lenten fasts. Some believe the name Bock came from the shortening of Einbeck thus "beck" to "bock." Others believe it is more of a pagan or old world influence that the beer was only to be brewed during the sign of the Capricorn goat, hence the goat being associated with Bock beers. Basically, this beer was a symbol of better times to come and moving away from winter.
I've never been one to seek out a bock style beer, but that will change now after this lesson I'm about to share. I headed over to one of the Midwest's best bottle shops, Bier Station, a back-to-back Top 100 DRAFT Mag winner, to select four bock style beers. With so many IPAs, Saisions, and early spring seasonals it actually took us a while to find the four I decided on. These four DID NOT disappoint. I repeat, DID NOT! Instead of a "this one is better than that one", which isn't The LAB's style, I highly recommend any of these and here's a little more info on each one.
Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche
Type - Doppelbock
Brewed by/in - Brauerei Heller- Trum / Schlenkerla in Bamberg, Germany
First sip - Tasty! This beer is terrific. And my offbeat flavor profile: Like an artisan hot dog cooking on the grill.
ABV & Size - 8% and 500 ml bottle
FYI - Rated "outstanding" by many beer experts.
Type - Double Bock (Doppelbock)
Brewed by/in - München, Germany
First sip - Pleasant toasty malts. And my offbeat flavor profile: Sweet biscuits and berries.
ABV & Size - 7.9% and 11.2 oz bottle
FYI - The Paulaner monks drank Salvator Double Bock as a substitute for food during Lent.
Erlkonig Urban Chestnut
Type - Pale Wheat Double Bock
Brewed by/in - St. Louis, MO
First sip - Sweet grassiness in a good way of course. And my offbeat flavor profile: As if I lived in San Diego in the winter and worked on the yard - earthy and peaceful.
ABV & Size - 8.3% and 500 ml bottle
FYI - We drink a good amount of Urban Chestnut and this beer is named after an elf king.
Type - Doppelbock
Brewed by/in - Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan in Freising, Gemany (Bavaria)
First sip - Drop dip delicious. And my offbeat flavor profile: Like being in a boutique caramel store next to a bakery.
ABV & Size - 7.4% and 1 pint bottle
FYI - Supposedly the world's oldest brewery.
Wait, there's more: A lot of beers this style are generally more popular in the winter months. I really don't think that should be the case since all of these had approachable ABVs, and I think that heavy maltiness turns new American craft drinkers away that typically chase hoppy beers.
Although a bock can be served in a flute (yes, a maibock can be poured in this), snifter (for an eisbock), weizen (for a weizenbock), pilsner/pokal, and of course a big stein or mug. I went with a weizen and pilsner hybrid I had. No offense to those that like a full, splashy stein, but these beers looked like beautiful monuments in my glass.
Serving temp suggestions are in the 48F - 54F range for most, but dopplebocks and eisbocks a few degrees warmer. Also, based on the ingredients and ABV level these are generally good beers to cellar. More guidance from Growler Magazine on that. - Jason (@LAB5702)
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