If you’re looking to experiment, give bock beer a try.
What Is Bock Beer?
Bock is thought of as the maltier cousin to traditional amber lager.
As with many types of beer, “there are several different styles within the style,” says Alan Delahunt, the CEO of Crooked Can Brewing Company in Winter Garden, Florida. He notes that bock types range from a high-alcohol-by-volume (ABV) eisbock to a more hoppy maibock. “There is a bock for everyone,” says Delahunt.
Delahunt was first exposed to bock beer while growing up in Ireland. “I remember having my first Doppelbock around Halloween,” he says. “The weather was cooler, and I just thought that maltiness provided such a sweet warmth.”
Where Did Bock Beer Come From?
Bock beer originated as early as the 1400s, and its namesake is the north German town of Einbeck, where it was founded. As the beer’s popularity grew, the style traveled south to Munich.
Then the name took a bit of a twist.
“When it made it to Bavaria, their accent was pretty thick, and it sounded like ein-bock,” says Delahunt. Coincidentally, einbock is the German word for billy goat, which is why many brewers use the animal in graphics on their bock-style drinks.
The Many Bock Beer Styles
At Crooked Can Brewing Company, brewers chose to introduce bock to their customers via Weizenbock, a style with a breadier taste. It’s called Reisensprung and is an unfiltered wheat bock that stands at 7% ABV.
“It’s a cross between a hefeweizen and an amber,” says Delahunt. “The flavor you get is that of comforting banana bread.” Crooked Can brings out that spiced, breadier flavor by using a particular strain of yeast combined with caramel grain.
“Shiner Bock was everywhere,” he reflects. “It was and remains a staple beer and feels like it has always been around.”
Viva Brewery makes a Bexar Bock. The name pays homage to the county Viva Brewery is in, Bexar (pronounced: bear) County. At 4.8% ABV, it’s full of flavor while not having an overpowering taste.
“There is a stigma about dark beers being too heavy or alcoholic, but the bock style really cuts through that noise,” says Johnson. When done right, bock offers a flavorful brew while still being refreshing, even in the Texas heat.
Viva Brewery’s bock is an approachable beer designed for any palette. “It’s an easy drinking lager, with a smooth mouthfeel and rich, toasty notes,” adds Johnson. “It honors the traditions of a great bock and yet is uniquely built for San Antonio’s culture, climate and cuisine.”
Although Viva Brewery and Crooked Can Brewing Company are over 1,000 miles apart, they’ve received similar customer responses about their bock beers. Delahunt says most patrons are pleasantly surprised by the flavor. “They expect the beer to be a syrupy, heavy malt flavor, but it really drinks more like a wheat beer or Hefeweizen,” he notes.
Johnson finds that many feel intimated about trying bock due to its many misconceptions. “People tend to shy away, making preconceived notions that it will be too heavy, too alcoholic and too bitter,” he reveals. However, once people sample the beer, they often change their minds and enjoy it.
“It takes them on a journey they were not expecting, and it opens up their world to new flavors and experiences,” says Johnson.
Last Updated: May 22, 2023