Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bock Beer and Other Earthly Delights

A few odds and ends to clear from the decks. But let’s start with a beer.

The Bock Season
I haven’t squawked about bock much this winter. What’s wrong with me? This season hasn’t been not too bad on the bock front, though it certainly could be better. But until some of these overrated craft brewers acquire the skill to brew a proper lager, I guess we're stuck with trendy beers dribbling from played-out bourbon barrels. Harumph.

Anyway, I’ve had a couple of good traditional bocks this season. It started in January when Point’s Bock went on tap at Dublin’s and Oblio’s. This was a bock harkening back to the sort of bocks small Wisconsin brewers were pounding out like mad until most of them went bust in the 1950s. Schell’s Bock is along the same lines. I’ve sang my praises to this beer before. It’s malty and rich, but still very drinkable. They have 12-packs of it at Festival.

Fox River Brewing Company’s Defibrillator Doppelbock returned earlier this year. I’m quite fond of this one. It’s full-bodied with a lush, caramelized malt character and a gently bitter end. It’s 8.5% ABV and they have it on draft and in bottles for carry out at Fratellos.

Leinenkugel's Big Butt is also a doppelbock. At least that’s what the label says. Swing and a miss. I picked up a 12-pack of this in cans at Pick N’ Save. I tried to like it. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough. Or maybe Leinenkugel's didn’t.

On the lighter side, there’s New Glarus' Cabin Fever Honey Bock. This is a very approachable, 6% beer that’s crisp and slightly sweet. A good beer for a bright, cold winter afternoon. I’ve seen Cabin Fever at a bunch of places around town including all the big-box grocery stores. Its best, though, on draft where the honey flavor really comes through.

But my favorite bock this season has been Capital Maibock. I have this every year, but this year it really grabbed me. Its fragrant caramel and toasted bread aroma leads to a creamy texture and a malt flavor that made me think of toast and toffee. The hops hang in the background, just as they should, providing little more than balance. There’s a twist of warming alcohol that rises to pinch you in the finish. A nice effect. At just over 6% ABV, it’s not too imposing, just imposing enough. Festival Foods has this in 6-packs.

Oblio’s Slow Ride Sampling
This Friday (February 27) they’ll be sampling New Belgium’s Slow Ride, the brewery’s new session IPA. It’s a one-hour sampling running from 6-7 p.m. You know the drill: show up, drink a free sample or two and have some fun. It’s that easy.

SOB Lake Brew
If you’d like to view something painful and freakish Saturday morning (February 27), you could slide by the Southside Ice Yacht Club in Oshkosh where a bunch of SOBs will take to the frozen lake and attempt to brew beer. That’s right, a pack from the Society of Oshkosh Brewers are going onto the ice with their kettles and burners. Some are even threatening to brew with water taken directly from the lake. Why? Because they can, that’s why. The brew starts around 8 a.m. and will end by noon or as soon as the last case of frost bite occurs, whichever comes first.

Hops & Props 2015
The EAA’s big beer fest is approaching. The event is a little more than a week away on Saturday, March 7. Tickets are once again $75 this year. I’ve heard plenty of grumbling about that. Is it worth it? You decide. You can see the full rundown of the event including the breweries that’ll have beer there by clicking HERE.

World of Beer Opening
This is up in Appleton and I’m thinking they can have it. World of Beer is essentially a tavern chain. Each outlet features a large taplist of craft beer. The Appleton World of Beer, at 149 N. Mall Drive, is slated to open Monday, March 2. They say they’ll have 50 beers on draft and 10 times as many in bottles. I’m curious, but also mildly repelled. To me, a corporate, cookie-cutter, chain bar seems antithetical to what I like to think beer is about. Then again, I’m curious to see what it’s like. We’ll see...

1 comment:

  1. SOB lake brew Feb 28. Sliding into Spring.