If you’re a big bock beer fan, you’ve probably noticed that at least some of the cans you drink regularly have an image of a goat emblazoned on them. Have you ever wondered why that is? The history of the goat dates back to the 14th century in the northern German town of Einbeck. This is where the bock beer began.
In the 1600s the style made its way south to the Bavarian region and due to a dialectical error, locals began referring to the beer as “Einbock” or “a goat” instead of Einbeck. That’s why today, a good four hundred years later, you can still find bottles and cans with goat motifs.
Why this style of beer is great for spring is a whole different story. Traditionally, monks brewed the malty, heavier bock style during the winter months to drink during their fasting season.
Whether the goat mascot caught your eye or you’re planning to fast during Lent, you can probably still understand the appeal of bock beer in the spring months. Brewers can too. That’s why we asked some of our favorite brewers, craft beer experts and beer professionals to tell us about their favorite bock beers this season. Read on to see all of her tips.
Alhambra Reserve Roja
Zach Fowle, director of marketing at Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. in Phoenix
Average price: $11 for a four pack
Alhambra Reserve Roja. Normally one would have to travel to northern Germany to encounter a buck that comes so close to the ideal of the style. Granada, Spain (where Alhambra, a subsidiary of Madrid-based Mahou San Miguel, has been based since 2007) is a slightly shorter trip, but luckily this beer is also distributed in the US.
Take a sip and you’ll get deep toasted bread crust, moist raisin bread and hints of sassafras root; a thick, chewy body and a balanced, semi-dry finish; and a mild but lingering bitterness of tree bark with just a hint of alcoholic warmth.
Aslin, that shiz slaps!
Garth E. Beyer, Cicerone® certified and owner and founder of Garth’s Brew Bar in Madison, Wisconsin
Average price: $12 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans
The shiz slaps! by Aslin is a Doppelbock that is well suited for spring drinking. It’s a meal in a can. The ABV is a bit sneaky, so watch out.
It really leans towards the dark fruity notes of plums and fig and raisin jam on toasted bread.
Charlotte Herndon, liquor and events manager at Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing in Framingham, Massachusetts
Average price: $13 for a four-pack of 16-ounce bottles
The Celebrator from the Ayinger private brewery, a 6.7% double bock, is a long-standing classic. It’s an award-winning beer for a reason. It’s a beer I can always go back to and still appreciate the profile it offers me. This beer took a long time because it’s one you never tire of.
It has the rich malt profile I’m looking for in a bock without too much heaviness in its body. It delivers a rich malt with just a hint of sweetness on the finish to dull the coffee tones in the backend.
Andechs Doppelbock Dark
Ryan Pachmayer, Head Brewer at Yak & Yeti Brewpub and Restaurant in Arvada, Colorado
Average price: $4 for a 16.9 ounce bottle
During a visit to Germany last year, a fresh liter of Doppelbock Dunkel in the beer garden of the Andechs monastery brewery was something very special. It wasn’t exactly the winterbuck season in Franconia, but I also enjoyed a very good one from Fassla in Bamberg.
Classic flavors like brown bread, roasted malt, dried fruit, caramel, toffee and slightly herbal floral hops make for an exceptional beer to drink this season (and every season).
Ryan Schmiege, brewmaster at Cascade Lakes Brewing Company in Redmond, Oregon
Average price: $12 for a pack of 12
Huber Bock from Minhas is my choice because it brings me great memories of my student days. It’s a classic, clean, no-frills bock beer for any occasion. It’s a smooth, crushable classic.
Huber Bock is an easy-to-drink lager with very light coffee elements and roasted character with a suitably balanced hop presence.
Schneider Weisse Hopfenweisse
Parker Penley, Lead Innovation Brewer at Widmer Brothers in Portland, Oregon
Average price: $6 for a 16.9 ounce bottle
Schneider Weisse makes a great wheat bock called Hopfenweisse. It’s never quite fresh in the bottle in the States, so I highly recommend getting it fresh at the brewery in Munich. It goes down so easily and is absolutely delicious.
A great choice for spring drinking, this Weizenbock shines with aromas of banana, clove, dried fruit and floral noble hops.
Dominique Trolliet, brewer at Wynwood Brewing Co. in Miami
Average price: limited availability
Well, on the way to Munich last year via Vienna, I had a buck from Grieskirchner, which was perfect. I suspect it’s the result of years of brewing, the water source has to be spot on. Centuries of brewing deliver the perfect glass of beer.
The malt, the roast, the balance of malt and hops, the smoothness of the beer and the impressive head retention.
Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Weizenbock
Josh Bartlett, Founder of Learning to Homebrew in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Average price: limited availability
Bocks, dating back to medieval Germany, are steeped in history and include a variety of substyles such as the Hellen Bock or the Doppelbock. One of my favorite styles is the only non-storage buck in the family, the wheat buck. One of the best is the Sierra Nevada Weizenbock, which was released in their Beer Camp series.
Hard to find in a bottle, the Wheat Bock from Sierra Nevada packs flavors of malty custard, banana and clove with a rich, creamy mouthfeel.
George Hummel, Grain Master at My Local Brew Works in Philadelphia
Average price: $11 for a six pack
When it comes to classic European style, I think it’s always best to go back to basics. Let’s be honest Salvator from Paulaner in Munich is the beer that all other bock beers want to be. Truly the liquid bread of German monks.
It’s thick and sweet. With notes of caramel, milk chocolate and honey. A glass of Salvator and a sandwich with Westphalian ham, brother basil cheese and mustard on pumpernickel. Yummy.
Frederic Yarm, USBG bartender in Boston
Average price: $8 for a 16-ounce can
Schilling’s Brücius is a delicious Doppelbock with a complex offering of burnt sugar, nuts, milk chocolate, toasted bread and grassy notes.
Its richness and body are quite satisfying in the colder months and well into spring.