Friday Beer Blogging – Bock Is Back

Readers of this blog might get the impression that every season is the season for dark Belgian ales and porters. Not so! In fact many brewers kick off the spring with light wheat beers and a MaiBock named after the month we just passed. The bock variety uses a combination of lighter and darker malts that straddle the boundary between lager and ale and range from the lighter (may/mai/Helles bocks) to ale strength (doppelbocks) and beyond (eisbocks).

I haven’t tried enough bocks in my life to say who makes the great examples of the genre. Based on past experience I pretty much never miss a chance to try a new release from Stoudt’s brewery in Wilkes-Barre, PA, so I recently took home a sixer of their Double Blonde MaiBock with more than a little anticipation.

Another bull’s-eye. Most days the wife and I cool the apartment by opening the windows so a cool, light beer with enough oomph to stand up to a spicy pie from Mineo’s in Squirrel Hill (best pizza on the planet; you New Yorkers can come here and try it) will always be welcome here. Stoudt’s pours a clear light caramel and comes across clear and refreshing with a slightly spicy finish. This reviewer at BA said it better:

medium mouthfeel, the carbonation just barely prickles the tongue, the sweet notes (honey) are in near perfect balance with the lager flavor which makes this oh so damn drinkable… like alot of stoudt offerings this delivers in a straightforward manner. And here . it works. There is even a slight hit of bitterness on the back of the tongue in the finish even though you are awash in the sweet tones of the malt and honey.

Just so. As always toss out your favorite bocks and whatever beverage you’re enjoying in the comments.

POSTSCRIPT: Just as an FYI, the History Channel series Modern Marvels ran a very cool special on brewing last night. I picked up enough cool new stuff that you will probably hear more about it, or at least ideas that I gleaned from it, in upcoming beer blogs.






13 replies
  1. 1
    Doug says:

    The Modern Marvels – Brewing episode came on right after a Modern Marvels – Coffee episode. Apparently I’m the demographic they’re gunning for – history, beer, and coffee are three of my favorite things.

  2. 2
    John says:

    I picked up a case of the Dogfish Head 60 minute IPA on your recco, and it is great. I love hops! I’m definitely tuning in for more beer recommendations.

    However, your pizza-fu is off target. The best pizza in the world comes from Dominick’s Pizza in Quakertown, PA.

  3. 3
    Johno says:

    MINEO’S.

    OHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

    That’s some GOOD pizza.

    Best I’ve had outside New York.

    Hey Tim… if I was to send you $$, wouldja maybe mind FedExing a nice cheese pie up to Salem, Massachusetts? I could pay ya back in homebrew.

    Not entirely kidding.

  4. 4
    FredW says:

    Just to pick nits –its Heller Bock (if you are using German words like Maibock, Doppelbock, etc)

    I combine both with a nice Weizenbock (Wheat bock). Aventinus, Mahrs Der Weise Bock (really a Lenten bock but it takes a while to get here :) ) or Victory Moonglow.

  5. 5
    DJAnyReason says:

    Just as an FYI for those of us who love beer and live in the Pittsburgh region: today from noon to midnight the Penn Brewery is celebrating their 20th birthday. I’m kinda surprised Tim didn’t make this part of his beer blogging this week.

  6. 6
    Tim F. says:

    John, if you liked 60 min then you have to try the 90 min IPA which is extraordinary. I just tried the 120 minute for the first time and it practically knocked my block off, like two great Scotch ales squeezed into one bottle.

    Johno, I might be able to help you out. My sister has Mineo’s half-bake a stack of pies that she carries home to San Fran and freezes. According to her they keep for months. Email me.

    DJ, damn! I was just at Penn Brewery a couple of weeks ago and somehow that slipped my mind. Thanks for the heads-up.

  7. 7
    John says:

    90 minute? 120 minute?!

    I thought it had been the 90 minute you wrote about, but I guess they only had the 60 at the distributor. I’ll keep an eye out.

  8. 8
    Johno says:

    Tim,
    What a crazy idea. I love it!!

    I just want to say for the record that the Magic Hat brewery in Vermont rule the school. It only occurs to me because I’m staring at a fresh assorted twelver. End transmission. I have work to do.

  9. 9
    slickdpdx says:

    I’ve been stripping wallpaper all day and just went outside and drank a Curveball. Best summer ale I’ve ever had and tasted great out of the bottle. Not a wheat beer.

  10. 10
    DougJ says:

    The 90 minutes is a truly great beer.

  11. 11
    Dave Straub says:

    A couple of bars here in Lancaster (20-25 mins. SW of Stoudt’s brewery) have the Double Mai Bock on tap. I’m more of an ale drinker, but this is a lager I usually don’t pass up if it’s available. The ABV is deceptive.

  12. 12
    Dave Straub says:

    BTW, I should have mentioned where Stoudt’s actually is located. All of their beers are now being brewed at their Adamstown location. The beers available in six-packs and cases were once contract-brewed by the Lion Brewery in W-B. That arrangement ended several years ago when Stoudt’s increased capacity substantially in the hometown facility. All Stoudt’s beers are now brewed solely in Adamstown.

  13. 13

    […] This beer is yet another example of why I am so big on the Stoudt’s brand. I can get along with brewers who make a reputation warping familiar recipes, blending traditions and striking off in directions that appear practically insane (Dogfish Head), but brewers like Stoudt’s deserve equal credit for making definitive exemplars of familiar styles. I have already made the case that the Stoudt’s trippel is one of the most faithful examples of the Belgian style on this American continent and I had similar things to say about their bock. Now the Double IPA delivers just what the title promises: a superlative entry in American microbrewing’s headlong race to make the hoppiest IPA like, evah. BAers like the 90 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head a bit better (I agree, at least for casual drinking) but they’re still pretty big on the Stoudt’s. […]

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  1. […] This beer is yet another example of why I am so big on the Stoudt’s brand. I can get along with brewers who make a reputation warping familiar recipes, blending traditions and striking off in directions that appear practically insane (Dogfish Head), but brewers like Stoudt’s deserve equal credit for making definitive exemplars of familiar styles. I have already made the case that the Stoudt’s trippel is one of the most faithful examples of the Belgian style on this American continent and I had similar things to say about their bock. Now the Double IPA delivers just what the title promises: a superlative entry in American microbrewing’s headlong race to make the hoppiest IPA like, evah. BAers like the 90 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head a bit better (I agree, at least for casual drinking) but they’re still pretty big on the Stoudt’s. […]

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