A brief respite from winter found myself recently sitting in neighbors’ backyard, where I said: “Of all the beer recipe styles, I think bock might have the most spiritual dimension.”
Part of this of course, was due to the Lenten Monk’s ‘liquid bread” connection. But that is only part of it. Another aspect is the connotation of bock being a celebratory, arrival-of-spring libation, designed to leave behind the heavy physical and emotional lifting of winter. All of this will do. Just seeing the return of these seasonal beers is a reminder that even before the so-called craft beer revolution, all American lager was not bland in taste.
In my own neck of the woods, Hudepohl-Schoenling, part of Christian Moerlein, has brought out Hudepohl Festival Bock, a pure beer recipe using Munich and Vienna malts, beautifully constructed by The Lion Brewery of Wilkes Barre, PA, for the Cincinnati based company. Complete with graphics of a beer goblet holding silhouette of Pan, America’s Great Small Brewery announces “Bock To Our Lips Spring In Our Souls”.
And a very tasty bock it is. Fresh and bright, the malts are given ample hops support, making this a lively, pleasant drinking experience.
At this time of year, it would not be spring forward without the arrival of Genesee Bock. Always a shocker to those who never saw the funky green Ball aluminum can, with a young goat springing about in a patch of yellow flowers. An American classic, nearly 60 years old, modestly priced for abundant enjoyment, I have often realized: My God what a beautifully made recipe.
Another tradition being established is the annual arrival of Sierra Nevada Glissade, a Mai Bock (golden colored) presentation, uually associated with late spring, this is a very fine take on the style, with the nectar-like quality found in Munich versions such as the one made by Hacker Pschorr. The depth of brewing skill is revealed here, demonstrating that Sierra Nevada, despite a hop-centric personality as a brewer, has enough respect for brewing history to produce this great traditional style beer.
One of the great surprises this week, was not a bock, but the surprising appearance of Stevens Point Brewery’s 2012 Black Ale. This is a tribute to the end of the Long Count Calendar (1 year, 10 nonths, 2 days… as of this writing) from the Mayan Civilization, scheduled to end on December 21, 2012. As the label on the bottle states: The ancient Mayans developed a “Long Count” round calendar that ends ominously on December 21, 2012. This date is the inspiration for the name of this ale.
An incredibly smoothly balanced black beer. So easy to drink it is almost scary. Point well made.
Cheers and of course thank you.