Thursday, February 27, 2014
Warm Up to a Couple of Hearty Lagers
Schell's Bock by August Schell Brewing, New Ulm, MN.
I didn’t see it coming, but I’ve come to love this brewery. Everything I’ve picked up from them over the past year or so has been outstanding. When it comes to traditional styles of German beer, Aug. Schell does exceedingly well and with this one they shine. Schell’s Bock stands firmly in the Traditional Bock camp. It’s a dark lager that piles into the glass with a ruby glow and a thin, tan foam. The aroma and flavor are equivalent. It’s all malt and toasty melanoidans with notes of cherry and plum poking through. The hops bring a balancing bitterness and do nothing else; which is how it ought to be with a beer like this. Full bodied and warming, the beer seems stronger than its 6.1% ABV due to its richness. Just an excellent example of the style. If you lust for the maltier side of life, this beer will reach your itch. You can find Schell’s Bock at Festival Foods and the north side Pick 'n Save in Oshkosh.
2 x 4 Imperial Pilsner by Fox River Brewing Company, Oshkosh, WI.
Kevin Bowen, the brewmaster at Fox River Brewing, describes this golden lager as, “A double/high alcohol version of our Paine’s Lumberyard Pilsner,” hence the 2 x 4 in the title. Essentially we’re heading into Maibock territory here... then shooting straight through it to something bigger yet. This lager is large. At 8% ABV and 50 IBUs it gives you plenty to chew on. It pours honey-gold with a lacy, white froth. The initial whiff delivers sweet malt and clover honey. There’s a slight, noble-hop aroma in there, too, but it’s fairly buried in malt. The first thought I had upon taking a long draw was of crackers and honey. It’s a coating, lush beer... in the beginning. Then the bitterness kicks in. It slowly builds and mops up the residual sugars making the beer seem especially crisp. This is what lager beer is all about! As of Wednesday afternoon, 2 x 4 was being sold in 12 oz. bottles at Fratellos in Oshkosh, but it shouldn’t be long before the beer goes on tap here. I’m looking forward to that.
Update: Just received word that Fratellos in Oshkosh now has 2 x 4 on draught. A couple of other new beers also went on. Here’s the full list.