Maand: september 2018

Let’s talk about Bock Beers!

A bock beer or a ‘bock’ is a strong lager that has a German origin. However, nowadays many countries are known for their versions of bock beers. In our home country, The Netherlands, we have our own specialty: ‘herfstbocks’. We’ll dive into the world of bock beers and explain the difference between types to you.


Bock beers are the perfect beer to have during fall and the beginning of the winter. A bock beer isn’t as heavy as a stout or a porter, but it sure does retain a smooth mouthfeel for the colder days. The traditional bock is a sweet, relatively strong (6.3% – 7.2% by volume) and lightly hopped (20-27 IBUs) lager. The color can range from a deep, dark brown to more copper and reddish shades. The flavors can also vary from sweet caramel to more traditional malty versions. The aroma is almost never fruity, but will most likely be malty and toasty. In any case, a bock beer will almost always have a bountiful and persistent off-white head. Nowadays we have many different variations to this traditional style, which we’ll get in to.

Doppelbock
Doppelbock might be the most known style of bock beers. It’s a stronger version of the original bock that finds his origin in Munich. Historically the doppelbock was sweet and high in alcohol. Back in the days, they used to drink doppelbock during times of fasting (when solid food was not permitted). Dobbelbock’s are still strong today, ranging from 7% – 12% ABV. The aroma is usually very malty with some toasty notes and noticeable alcohol strength. Darker versions might have a chocolate-like aroma.

Herfstbock
Many Dutch breweries – major and micro – offer their take on the original bock beer at the start of these seasons. These ‘herfstbocks’ are only a ‘herfstbock’ according to beer consumer organization PINT when they are brought on the market between September 21 and December 21. However, this is only according to PINT. In most cases, the beer will be dark brown and have an average alcohol percentage of 6% – 8%.

Heller Bock
The heller bock is also known as the ‘maibock’ or the ‘helles bock’. While this is still a relatively strong beer (6.3% – 7.4% ABV), it is a lot lighter than the doppelbock and more similar to the traditional bock, except for the fact that it has a lighter color and more hop presence. The color ranges from deep gold to light amber. The flavor is less malty than the traditional bock. A heller bock might be drier, hoppier and more bitter.

Eisbock
Last but not least we’ve got the Eisbock. This is a traditional specialty beer from the Kulmbach district in Germany. It’s special because it is made by partially freezing a doppelbock and removing the water ice. This process concentrates the flavor and alcohol. Eisbock is pretty strong compared to its sibling styles. It has 9% – 13% ABV. The color is mostly deep copper to dark brown with ruby highlights. Expect a rich and sweet flavor from this one that will always be balanced by a significant alcohol presence.

We love to drink a bock beer during this time of the year. Whether it’s a more heavy doppelbock or a lighter heller bock. Keep an eye out on our menu, as we’ve got different kinds of bock beers on tap each month!

 

Where do Pale Ales come from?

Pale ale might also be known to you as “bitter”. It is obviously known for its light color but has more history to it than you might think.

It was around 1703 that we first heard the word “pale ale”. It is a term used for beer brewed from malt that is dried with coal. This way of roasting, however, was first used in 1642. So you could argue that the “pale ale” goes back to 1642. While the pale ale was a big hit in the US around only 30 years ago (we’ll get to this later), the history of the pale ale beer style lies in England and goes back 300 years.

Before the 18th-century brews in England were mostly known for their stouts and porters – who have a different brewing process. Due to the technology and fuel at this time, these were the most common beer styles. They had this dark color because of the heating process that created dark barley malts. However, around the early 18th-century, new and reliable methods started to appear to produce pale barley malt, which led to a new, very pale colored beer. As the technology was very new at the time, the new malt became expensive, which meant that the pale beers were only for wealthier drinkers. As time went by, the pale malt became more affordable. Slowly, the pale-colored ales took over the stout and porters in popularity.

Eventually, the pale ale is the beer that is responsible for the modern brewing revolution in America. In 1980 the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. produced their first batch of pale ale. Beer lovers that were seeking something flavorful and typically American, were immediately sold on this. The beer was refreshing and characterful. The Sierra Nevada Pale Ale soon became the standard against which all American pale ales were measured. New microbreweries, that sprang up around that time across the US, tried to produce beers that had this same beer vein.

Fun fact: there are many differences between American and British pale ales. American brewers tend to stay away from the name “bitter”, as they make the pale ales in a more assertive American style than the English tradition. British pale ale malt is robust and nutty, while American malt is crisper and softer. Traditional English hops are floral, earthy and refined, whereas American hops evoke wildness with a bit of citrus and pine profile.

The English will try to go for balance in their pales, while the Americans show off a full hop character with a striking aroma.

At Brody’s you can find both: we have English and American pale ales on our menu. While every beer is different, with a pale ale you can expect an amber-gold beer with fruity and fresh aromas and relatively low alcohol.

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