Tag Archives: Bock

St. Arnold Spring Bock

St. Arnold Brewing Co.
Houston, TX
Spring Bock

With spring weather upon the Great State of Texas for moment, I went looking for some appropriate brews. I stumbled upon a six-pack of St. Arnold Spring Bock. Since I dig this weather, am newly obsessed with bock beer, and spend my days composing love-filled sonnets to St. Arnold beer, I figured this was perfect.

The color is crystal clear amber like it was just dug up from a Baltic forest; some yellow tones near the edges of the glass really enhance the clarity. Straight, steady streams of bubbles ascend the glass, with a few pearl strands that expend themselves quickly, forming an off-white head that descends slowly with some light lacing.

Check out the apropos hilarity under the cap

The nose is almost all malt with a faint wet-straw aroma and perhaps overripe orange peel. There are some hints of peppery Euro hops, too. Initially, a sweet, slightly toasty aroma emerges, followed by a background of fresh nuts.

The mouthfeel is exceptionally full, assaulting all corners of the palate. At first, there is a creamy feel, like an ale, but the malt character really starts to pick up, simultaneously hitting on sweet caramel notes and a bread-like chewiness. Finally, as the warmth of the alcohol starts to outweigh the smoothness of the malt, some grassy, peppery notes kick in thanks to the Saaz hops.

All around, this is a stellar bock with a big malt character and a 6.4%ABV to back it up, but it uses the Pilsner-style hops well and finishes the sip on a slightly spicy note so you don’t feel like you just got butted by a goat.


Sierra Nevada Glissade

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Chico, CA
Glissade Golden Bock

The color is more yellow gold than orange or amber. The head is white, gloriously pillowy, and seems to be sticking the edges. The effervescence is very lively and steady, rising in a straight plume from the etched bottom of the glass.

Some sweet cotton candy aromas just barely arise from behind a grassy aroma – an indication of the German and Slovenian hops. On the whole, a husky dampness takes over the nose.

The mouthfeel starts with a very full, creamy sensation thanks to the stellar head retention. The flavors really start to open up though after the initial froth settles. Corn husk, straw, and grass jump up first. Imagine standing in one of Van Gogh’s wheatfields, where everything is smooth and golden and slightly earthy. Subtle malt flavors work their way around the mouth with some touches of cereal but, on the whole, conceal the 6.4% very well. The end starts to become grassier ending with a dryness that is just the slightest mix between citric and metallic.

This beer tastes more like a German lager than just about any American brew you’ll find, perhaps with the exception of Victory’s Prima Pils. Unlike any other Sierra out there, this beer has none of the grapefruit and pine aromas or flavors of the Cascade-heavy brews they put out.

The lacing is a gorgeous, sun-lit glacial wall, and is certainly picture-worthy.

Shiner Bock

Spoetzl Brewery
Shiner, TX
Shiner Bock

Brew York City has moved! After much deliberation, your friendly neighborhood Brew Yorker has moved to Dallas. Despite my southern sojourn, this blog will stay the same After all, Brew York City is an ideal – that good beer can be enjoyed by all, anywhere. Even Texas. I thought it fitting that my first Texas review be the iconic Shiner Bock.

With its yellow label and elegant goat-head bottle top, it is a lovely example of local production. Bocks are typically celebration beers, first brewed in the German town of Einbeck in the 1300s. I always like bocks as they are a nice departure from my hoppy exploits. Bocks are usually strong and malty. A not-too-soft pour develops a just off-cream white head that is rocky and flies up to about an inch, settling quickly to an even coating of white over the top of the beer.

The color is amber and deep caramel, shading towards a light cola brown, but sitting more in the orange range. The nose is almost all malt. There is a carob and brown sugar aroma that carries through on a cantaloupe lightness that seems it would dull what would ordinarily be a hefty brew.

The mouthfeel is good, very much like a pub lager. The effervescence swells like a pilsner, but the hops are not present at the beginning of the sip. The first thing you notice is a real Viennese breadiness that is at once fulfilling and slightly chewy, but light and not overwhelming. The sip is not sticky, though the flavor subsists well on the tongue. A faint grassiness cleans up the swallow and leaves the malt and molasses behind. There is not a lot of lacing, but what is there is crystalline and weighty.

For a cheaper beer, I will take this over almost any of the bigger affordable brews any day. I would certainly recommend this with some BBQ, I think the clean malt would accentuate the brown sugar sweetness of the food, while the grassy ending would help to tamp out any flames that might accompany your ribs or brisket. I like this brew!

Sprecher Maibock

Sprecher Brewing Company
Milwaukee, WI
6% ABV

Here’s a style I really don’t know too much about, nor knew what to expect with this brewery. I have to say I was really pleased and surprised. Sprecher is one of Wisco’s finest craft brewers and has won some great awards, most notably at the 2004 GABF. This particular bock has a beautiful color. It is sort of a reddish-gold; a real amber. It did not have a lot of head or effervescence, but the sweet caramel aroma was enough to tempt. The flavor is not sharp, per se, but has a slight yeasty citrus tang coupled with a bit of caramel on the sides of the tongue. There is a mild kick of alcohol towards the end which is by no means off-putting and goes hand-in-hand with the richness of the wheat and malt, and the slight zest of fruit.