This post is a contribution to Typology Tuesday, a monthly project started by the Brookston Beer Bulletin. On the last Tuesday of every month, beer bloggers are invited to explore a different style of beer and write a post about it. For the month of February, we are writing about bocks.
To be perfectly honest, I don't have a ton of experience with bocks. That is part of the reason why I wanted to participate in this month's Typology Tuesday. Jay Brooks from the Brookston Beer Bulletin compiled a good amount of history, style guidelines from various sources and further reading suggestions for bocks, located here.
Bocks are lagers that generally fall into the 6.3-7.6% ABV range. They are dark brown or very dark in color and have a high malt complexity. You won't find much hop bitterness in these beers; just what's enough to cut the sweetness from the malt. Bready, biscuity, nutty...all those bread descriptors could likely describe bocks.
Bock is one of those styles where I always seemed to be drinking a variation of the original style, but hardly ever the traditional style itself. Doppelbock? Check. Weizenbock? Check. Maibock? Rogue's Dead Guy Ale was probably one of the first non-BMC beers I tried (or at least in the first 10!).
I can count on one hand the number of beers I've had where the style was simply bock. There's Shiner Bock, which doesn't quite meet style guidelines at 4.4%, and was always an underwhelming beer unless I was being offered no other option. Yuengling Bock was brought back in 2010 as a late winter seasonal, but has since been discontinued. I don't have any notes on the beer, but I remember it being alright. It was also outside style guidelines at 5.1%. Anchor Brewing used to have a bock in their portfolio, and it was ALSO outside style guidelines at 5.5%. Sadly, I never tried Anchor's version before it was discontinued several years ago.
I wanted to try a traditional bock for this post, and had a hard time finding one! I went to 3 different liquor stores that I rely on for their superb selections, but only found doppelbock and weizenbock until I made it to the 3rd store. There, sitting on the shelf, I found Zywiec Bock. I was familiar with Zywiec Porter, which I wrote about here, but wasn't aware they brewed a bock. I decided to give it a try for this post. Let's see how it is!
I know the Dutch Heineken Group has a controlling share in the Zywiec brewery, but at $1.99 for a 16 oz. bottle, this was a steal. I will definitely be keeping my eye out for more traditional bocks. It's a style that lends to drinking. Not a challenge to put one back, and a beer you could probably pair with just about any food (if you're into that sort of thing!)