Sunday, May 15, 2016

Bock

Bock beer is another type of lager, that is considered a Spring seasonal, but unfortunately, you don't see too much of these days. As lagers, bocks use bottom, or cold, fermenting yeasts, and are lagered, or allowed to mature in a cool environment. Traditionally these were the first beers brewed in the Spring, and were used as a celebratory beer at the end of Lent, but there are also traditions which speak of monks drining bocks during fasts as sources of nourishment. In general, a bock is stronger than average (6.5 - 7% ABV) and tends to be darker than most lagers. Hop profile is low, usually around 20-25 IBU and has a sweet malty character. Other versions of the bock include the maibock, brewed in May. Maibocks tend to be lighter and hoppier. A dopplebock, or double bock can be up to 10-12% ABV. Right now bocks for some reason are not very popular, so they're not being brewed in great numbers; that and the fact that lagering ties up a small craft brewery's equipment longer than does an ale is also a factor.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Avery's Liliko'i Kepolo

Last beer of the night at Yia-Yia's, this one was a passion fruit flavored Witbier. It poured a brilliant hazy yellow, with a decent sized bright white head. Very refreshing - I recommend it highly for summer drinking. In addition to the passionfruit, one might detect some lemon and coriander. Perhaps even some orange and lemon peel. Of all the beers that I tried, this one was probably the most approachable for the beer novice. I rate this pretty high on the IGB scale.

Avery's Uncle Jacob's Stout

It was Avery Brewing night at Yia-Yia's last night and this was the first one that I tried. At 17.1% ABV I had it in a six ounce glass. I pint glass would have probably put me in a coma. It's an oak bourbon barrel aged stout, but felt kind of like a chocolate quad. The aroma reeked of alcohol, but it didn't assault the tongue as I expected. It was one of the smoothest brews I've experienced in quite a while. The mouthfeel was very thick and heavy, I might even say...stout. there was some definite bourbon character, as well as a melange of dark fruits: black cherry, figs, raisins. Asit warmed up the chocolate notes came to life, as well as some vanilla. It really stretched this one out, partly out of respect for the high ABV, but also because it was so complexly tasty, I just couldn't rush it. Head on down to Yia-Yia's and get some for yourself.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Leinenkugel's Heart of Oak Vienna Lager

The best way to describe the Vienna lager style is to compare it to Samuel Adams Boston Lager, Negra Modelo and Dos Equis. Heart of Oak pours a coppery hue with a three finger tan head. Low IBUs, but there is a bit of a hop bite lurking at the back of the taste profile. Sweet maltiness predominates, with some caramel, and some smokiness, presumably from the oak. I'd say it would be a great Autumn beer, similar in some respects to an Oktoberfest. Works pretty well as an early Spring beer as well.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Leinenkugel IPL (India Pale Lager)

It's an IPA! It's a lager! It's neither! It's both! Hoppy as advertised, IPL pours a coppery amber with a pinky-width of a head...scanty, but it doesn't go away. The hops give a predominantly citrus feel, with some hidden pine notes. It somewhat reminds me of a good pilsner...not those Americanized, mass-produced LCD lagers, but a good Czech pils. Might not have been what they were going for, but other than the color (a true Pilsner will be a bright golden hue) they have it nailed.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Leinenkugel Big Butt Dopplebock

At one time in the life of Ill-Gotten Booty, Leinenkugel was my favorite beer. I had graduated from Budweiser, but had not yet discovered the vast universe of craft beers. Leinie's Red was my regular at O'Rourke's and I usually had some Honey Weiss and Creamy Dark in the fridge. Since I liked to try the darker brews I picked up some Big Butt Doppelbock. Bocks are Spring seasonals, a style of lager that in my opinion you don't see enough of these days. Originally brewed as the first beer at the end of Winter/beginning of Spring. It's typically dark and malty, lower in hops than average. The "butt" in "big butt" comes from the association of mountain rams head butting each other with bock. Who knows why there is such an association?  Doppel  or Double bock tends to be stronger and a bit darker. Leinie's version pours a nutty brown with a two-finger tan head. Big Butt has a sweet, malty character with overtones of apple and pear. There's a hint of chocolate, but just a hint. The body is lighter than I remembered from days past. Fairly decent bock, but not the best out there. Nonetheless, I'm glad that they brought it back. A little Leinie's trivia: Leinenkugel pulled this beer from their seasonal rotation because  of low sales, not anticipating the fad for darker craft beers that was to come.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Beer Styles: Miscellaneous Lagers

We've looked at the origin of the lager, as well as the popular style known as American Pale Lager. Now we'll check out some other popular lager styles.

In the ancient times of beer brewing, each locality had its own variety of beer. Differences in water quality; availability of flavorings, including hops; and the varieties of grain all influenced the beer that each area produced. As lagering became more prevalent, the varieties became more regional, more there were still distinct differences.

Dunkel, a German word meaning "dark" was the name for a family of German lagers characterized by their dark brown color. Helles is the German word indicating a lighter color. Both the Helles and Dunkel varieties are attributed to the Munich region and are typically referred to as Munich Helles and Munich Dunkel. A subcategory of the dunkel is the Schwarzbier, literally "black beer". This lager is heavier and less sweet than a dunkel. A style that has many descendants among Mexican beers (as well as Yuengling and Sam Adams) is the Vienna Lager. Vienna style lagers tend to be red to amber in hue and have a sweet, malty character. A rauchbier is simply a smoked lager. American brewers brew versions of all of these lagers.

In general, these lagers can be described as crisp, and are often clear without the haziness you often get in an ale. There are nuanced differences in taste among these different lagers, but are all recognizable as part of the same beer family.

Coming up: Pilsener, Bock, Mรคrzen (Octoberfest)