What is Bock Beer?

What is Bock beer?  Well other than being one of my favorite styles of beer, it is a dark colored sweet lager that is lightly hopped and high on the ABV (6-7%).  But Bock hasn’t always been as we know it.

The style known now as bock was a dark, malty, lightly-hopped ale first brewed in the 14th century by German brewers in the Hanseatic town of Einbeck. The style from Einbeck was later adopted by Munich brewers in the 17th century and adapted to the new lager style of brewing. The Bavarians of Munich pronounced “Einbeck” as “ein Bock” (“a billy goat”), and thus the beer became known as “bock”. To this day, as a visual pun, a goat often appears on bock labels. – Wikipedia

Apparently the original recipe for the beer was lost over time as their were two fires and a 30-year war in the town of Einbeck.  Therefore the beer we enjoy today is designed in memory of the original.  This beer would eventually evolve into a beer style that would be brewed by Bavarian monks to make it through the linten season.

Doppelbock emerged in the late eighteenth century as a powerful lager variant of the old monastic strong beer, the monks’ “liquid bread,” which they traditionally brewed for the Lenten season. – German Beer Institute

The monks believed that the “liquid bread” would cleanse not only their body during the 46 day fast, but it would also cleanse their soul.  Therefore they would drink excessive amounts during the fast to help purify their soul.  (I knew there was something deeper about my love affair with bock beers.)

Today you can get several different styles of bock beer: Bock, Maibock or Helles Bock, Double Bock and Eisbock.

The Maibock style of beer tends to be lighter in color than other Bock beers and often has a significant hop character with a noticeable alcohol around the same as a traditional Bock…Double Bocks or Doppelbocks are huge beers with enough malt packed in them to consider them a meal in its self. Generally having a very full-bodied flavour and darker than other bocks with a higher level of alcohol also, 6.5-8.5%. Eisbocks are basically a form of a Bock or a Double Bock that is concentrated to boost flavour and alcohol by freezing off some of the water. – BeerAdvocate.com

If you’re new to beer, I would highly recommend trying a bock style beer.  It’s light flavor makes it a good introduction beer for those who are wanting to try beer for the first time.  For that reason when my boys are old enough to drink, I’m going to sit down with them and share a nice cold Shiner Bock.

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