Fall is in the air, well, at least in my home. So you know what that brings, right? Darker beers! After my recent dances with IPAs, I noticed the changing of the seasons in my local beer aisle. Smuttynose Brewing is one of my recent favorites of the past year for their “Big Beer” series of brews, which are always at a great price point. Factor the price with the quality craft beer, and that equals a winner in my book. That said, let’s walk this goat together. Enter the S’Muttonator Double Bock:
This beer pours out of the gate a very nice looking double bock, in a darker hue with a tan head. The head races out of the bottle like a pissed off goat chasing you out of his domain, then recedes ever so slowly as to let you know who is boss. Can you tell that I have been chased by a billy goat before? True story. Back to the beer: This is a classic for a double bock. Malts are your best friend with this one. Sweet malt flavors hit you in the front, with a hint of dark fruit making itself known. The beer finishes with a touch of alcohol flavor, since it does weigh in at 8.5% ABV. That is big for a double bock. Like the other Smuttynose beers that I have had, this beer is on my list to buy again.
Double bocks are a great way to usher in the colder temperatures. While there are quite a few on the market that are worthy of your time, I would say to give Smuttnose a shot at your bock beer time, you will appreciate every moment with this goat. Well done!
Beer comparison time! Enter two similar, but very different beers: Troegs Trogenator, and Yuengling’s Bock Beer.
Let’s start with Yuengling. Yuengling is still relatively new to the Ohio beer scene, and their lager rolled through the state with an almost legendary status. It is a good lager, but it is still just a lager. You can’t really dress it up more than that. What Yuengling does well though, is that it is a “gateway beer.” It is introducing the mindless Bud Light zombies of the world to real beer flavor. For that they deserve a tip of the hat. Anyway, on the popularity of their lager, Yuengling rolled out their first seasonal in this area, the Bock Beer.
First off, it has great packaging. Almost a retro feel to it, and of course, the image of a goat that has become synonymous with the style. The label is classy. Unfortunately with this one, that is all that is classy. This is by far, one of the worst beers that I have ever had. I would hardly call it a bock beer even. The beer pours like a nicer bock beer, but once the beer hits your taste buds it is all downhill from there. Not much on the sweet, malt flavor, but more on the bitter end. It has an almost bad lager taste, almost metallic, and finishes a little dry. Not a good representation of the style at all. For the oldest brewery here in the States, I expected a little more than this. This is now on my list of “Do not buy.”
Next up is a similar beer, in Trogenator. This beer is a classic. Granted, it is a little heavier on the alcohol, at 8.2% compared to 5%, but this beer makes Yuengling take a backseat. The beer, like Yuengling’s, pours like a bock should. The difference here is that the Troegs version has a more sticky head, that laces the glass nicely. For the taste, the sweet maltiness redeems any bad thoughts of the style from Yuengling, with even a touch of caramel. Well balanced, slightly sweet, with perfect carbonation, this beer is in my top five of all time. I will admit, it has lived on that list for some time now. When it comes to bock beers, you will be hard pressed to find a better representation of the style.
So there you have it, two bocks, two very different outcomes. For both beers coming out of the Keystone state, it is amazing at how different they really are. Sure you could argue that one is just a bock beer, and the other is a double bock, or that the higher alcohol content clouds your tasting vision, etc. But when it comes to flavor, and drinkability, Trogenator wins hands down. To me, it is worth the extra $3-4 for a six pack.
Ever have one of those days that seems to drag on forever? Today was one of those days. With the upcoming feast of Thanksgiving in my mind, and also being my pseudo Friday, the clock seemed to stand still today. Luckily that is in the past, and in my present is a beer from the cellar: 2010 Sam Adams Double Bock.
Double Bocks (aka Doppelbock) are one of my favorite types of beer this time of year. I tend to judge all double bocks by one beer alone: Ayinger’s Celebrator. That is the end all, be all of bock beers. But enough about that, let’s get to the Sam Adams version.
This beer is part of their Imperial series of brews. Sold in four packs, and usually packing a little higher alcohol content. This beer weighs in at 9.5% ABV. The beer balances that high of an alcohol content with lots and lots of malt. According to their website, they use a half pound of malt per bottle. Yes, I said per bottle. This results in a sweet tasting beer, with a little alcohol taste, some light hop character, and a tiny bit of lager bitterness to finish it off. This is a delightful beer. This vintage, from 2010, has a little more alcohol taste to it, just from the aging process. Not overbearing, but just a little more kick than last year. This makes me happy that I finally have a place to store beer!
If you are wondering about the goat on the label, here is why: Almost all bock beers have a goat on the label. “Bock” in German means billy goat. There are many theories as to why they went with the term, but the one that I tend to agree with is that the beer has a kick like a goat. If being kicked by a goat is this awesome, then count me in.
On the topic of goats, I thought I would end this post with a funny goat video. The video posted below is not really funny, but absolutely amazing. Nature amazes me every day. That said, here is the bird tie in to this post, a Golden Eagle hunting mountain goats:
Nature is amazing.