Seasonal Sipping

Signs of Spring: Bock Beers

In Germany, strong lagers mark the transition from winter to spring. We’ll drink to that.

March 23, 2010

This mural, painted on a wall at the Pillagers Pub, captures the aesthetic of the bar rather nicely.

In Germany, bocks—strong lagers—are associated with spring. Well, guess what people. Spring is upon us. Let’s drink some bocks.

You may be most familiar with maibocks—in German that just means May bock, a bock you drink in May (some heavier bocks are made for late-winter drinking). Elysian Brewing’s head brewer Dick Cantwell makes two bocks: the Ambrosia Maibock and Pandora’s Bock. (The sweet-then-bitter-then-sweet-then-bitter Ambrosia is amazing.) Cantwell says he thinks of bocks as outdoor-drinking beers, something you might bring on a picnic.

Jeff Smiley, head brewer for local German-style micro Baron Brewing, rotates a few bocks at his Greenwood brewpub, the Pillagers Pub. I sat down with him recently and tried a bunch of his beers, the electrically fresh and extremely drinkable Helles Bock was pouring especially nicely that day. Read more about that here, then go get you some. They have it at Bottleworks.

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