Bock beer is a broad brushstrokes label for a whole family of bocks, such as heller bock, that offer something for everyone. The traditional bock is a slightly sweet, lightly hopped lager, packing quite a punch at 6.5-7.5% ABV. It should present as clear, although the colour can range from pale copper through to richer shades of brown. Bocks hail from across the globe these days, but you can find a huge range available on-line at Beers of Europe.
Expect a traditional bock beer to have a large head, creamy coloured head and to greet you with a delicious malt and toast aroma. This follows through with a rich flavour, which might involve a hint of caramel. What you won’t find in a bock beer is much in the way of hoppiness or fruitiness. There are just sufficient hops to ensure that the sweetness doesn’t overwhelm.
The bock beer origin story is, as is frequently the case, contentious! Most beer buffs, however, concur that it first emerged in Einbeck, Germany. During the late Middle Ages, Einbeck was a key beer brewing city, producing Einbecker beer. Envious Bavarians were keen to reproduce their successful brew. The breakthrough came in 1614, when Elias Pichler create the Ainpöckisch.
At this point in the story, things get muddier – some say bock beer comes from this word, with others believing the Bavarians simply mispronounced Einbeck as ‘ein bock’. This means ‘billy goat’ in German and has led to the goat featuring prominently on many labels. This fact could be a winning quiz answer! An alternative theory, however, is that the goat is not related to an etymological mix-up, but that the bock is (for many) a beer for the colder months and the goat connection relates to the wintery zodiac sign, Capricorn.
Bock beer has been embraced by beer lovers and brewers across the globe, sometimes resulting in new branches of the bock family, as new brewing cultures and flavours combine with the traditional bock. Explore the bock beer family with Beers of Europe.
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