Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Bock lucky

According to The Oxford Companion to Beer:

Bock is a traditional strong, malty Bavarian lager [with] a typical alcohol content beyond 6.5% ABV. [...] Many —but not all— bock beers tend to be full-bodied to slightly sweet and malty with a floral or fruity note. They are generally not hop-driven beers, and bitterness is kept to a moderate level.

Dopplebock is a strong beer with [...] typical alcohol content beyond 7% ABV. [...] Doppelbocks are usually reddish-brown bottom-fermented lagers, and generally show a toffee-like, bready aroma and rich malty palate with notable residual sweetness.

Maibock, although brewed to bock strength —with about 6% to 7% alcohol by volume and a substantial body— is light amber to deep golden in color. This sets it apart from the darker winter bocks, hence its other name, heller bock (pale bock). [...] Compared with the winter bocks, maibocks also tend to have slightly more hop bitterness and hop flavor from noble Bavarian hop varieties.

In late winter and early spring, I look for bock beers. If I'm fortunate, I'll find them in local pubs, such as this bock, brewed in Germany at Ayinger Privatbrauerei, which I found served on draught in Virginia. I call Celebrator a favorite; it's often called a doppelbock.

Ayinger Celebrator, on draft

In late spring, I've enjoyed paler, almost golden bocks, sometimes called hellerbocks or maibocks, such as this one I enjoyed, post-spring, in mid-summer, in Wisconsin, in the Bier Garten of the Capital Brewery.

A Capital maibock

Only a few weeks ago, in winter, I drank this bock, made in Georgia, served on draught at a pub in Georgia.

Dark Maibock?

The pub called it a maibock. The Georgia brewery that brewed it —Arches Brewing Company— did not:
This traditional German lager originated in the 14th-century and was lagered in caves through Winter to be consumed to celebrate the coming of Spring. The strong, sweet malt character is the hallmark of the style, complemented by a deep amber color. The malt character is balanced by a slight hop bitterness that allows the toasted grain and caramel flavors to shine through.

In my prior neck of the woods, bocks —both imported and locally-brewed— were not absent from taps and shelves.

In my newer, southern, neck of the woods, however, they are rare. Possibly, it's the climate.

Here (and not just limited to here), the emphasis is on hops and sours; bocks of malt character are not au courant. That's unfortunate. Malt is beer's irreducible soul. Tasting good should always be fashionable.

On that night a couple of weeks ago, that mis-ID'd bock was a caramelly, toasty, (slightly) concord-grapey, and reddish-brown bock. And it was tasty. Count me bock lucky.

Session 121: Bock! Beer Blogging Friday: The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community, begun in March of 2007 by Stan Hieronymus of Appellation Beer and Jay Brooks of the Brookston Beer Bulletin.

On the first Friday of every month, a pre-determined beer blogger hosts The Session, choosing a specific, beer-related topic, inviting all bloggers to write on it, and posting a roundup of all the responses received.

For The Session: Beer Blogging Friday #121, Jon Abernathy — blogger at The Brew Site— is the host. His theme is one word, with emphasis: "Bock!"
The month of March heralds the start of spring, and March 20 is even National Bock Beer Day. So Bockbiers seemed like a natural fit for the month! Don’t feel constrained to simply write a review of a Bock beer, though I’m certainly interested to read any reviews that come it. Some other ideas to consider:
  • Dig into the history of the style—their ties to Einbeck, the differences in the development of Bocks and Doppelbocks, and so on.
  • Do any of your local breweries brew a Bock-styled beer? Seek it out and write about it.
  • Alternatively, interview your local brewer who brewed that beer; get their take on the style and why/how they brewed it the way they did.
  • Have you ever attended Bockfest in Cincinnati, Ohio? It just so happens to take place the first weekend of March—write a review for The Session!
  • There are already the styles of traditional Bock, Doppelbock, Maibock, Eisbock, Weizenbock (and Helles Bock and Dunkles Bock in the BJCP) guidelines. Just for fun, invent a new style of Bock and describe it.
  • Have you homebrewed a Bock or similar style? Tell us about it, and anything you learned brewing this lager style at home.
  • Bock puns!
  • By rule, entries for Beer Blogging Friday: The Session are solicited for the first Friday of the month. Today is Wednesday, in fact the second Wednesday of the month. Thus, Mr. Abernathy has not listed this post in his wrap-up of entries. You can read those non-tardy paens to bock: here. [UPDATE: Mr. Abernathy has since added my post to his round-up, despite my delinquency. I thank him!]
  • Caveat lector: At the time that I took the above photo of Celebrator (and drank the beer), I was selling the bock for a wholesaler in northern Virginia. I left the firm well over a year ago, but Celebrator remains a personal favorite.

  • For more from YFGF:

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