September 12, 2017
All German beer is amazing, but we think one is truly wünderbar.
Bock Bier originated in Eisenbeck, a small city in what is now Lower Saxony, Germany.
A bock is full bodied and slightly sweet with loads of malt character and little if any hops. Bock beers age well – some last for decades. The hallmark of these beers is an alcohol content that ranges from 6.5% to over 10%.
The oldest record of beer from Einbeck is a receipt for two casks of Einbecker sold in 1378. The brewing equipment was owned by the city of Einbeck and the brew master was a civil servant. Citizens malted their own grains and the brew master visited the home with his brew kettle and oversaw the process. This ensured that all beer brewed in Einbeck followed the same recipe and met the same quality standards.
Bock beers grew in popularity throughout Europe and Einbecker became known as Ainpockisch Pier, which then morphed into Oanpock and then became simply known as Bock Bier. Munich was importing so much Oanpock that in 1617 a brewer from Einbeck was hired to brew a Bavarian version.
Many regional variations of these bottom fermented lagers exist. Some top fermented ales also fall into the category, such as weizenbock. Classic takes on this brew from the middle ages show golden or amber hues but some can be a reddish or even black colour.
Bock beers became very popular in Lent periods as “liquid bread” to provide sustenance during the fasting. Contrary to popular belief, the bock beers labelled for Christmas and Easter were not produced to celebrate the holidays but rather for preceding them. The spring lent led to the creation of an even stronger brew: the Doppelbock. Some breweries began to produce a Maibock in May.
Einbecker Brauhaus is the only surviving brewery from the town. You can tell you are getting the “original” beer when “Ur” appears before the name. Ur-Bock indicates that this beer is the original from Einbeck.
Germany is of course famous for Oktoberfest. The first Oktoberfest in 1810 celebrated the King’s son’s marriage with rich and deep dunkels and luscious bocks being served. The style of Oktoberfest beer has evolved over time. In 1872 after running out of beer in the Spaten tent – a Vienna style lager reminiscent of Bocks was brought in out of desperation and likely packed a mean 8% punch. The first half of the 20th century saw the alcohol content drop and Oktoberfest brews were “Marzenbiers” brewed in March before the summer ban on brewing.
Since 1990, Oktoberfest has been serving lagers that are a little more fresh with a rich texture and deep complexity in a refreshing and crisp style to please the modern palate. They are golden, lightly sweet and malty – with a medium body and low hop bitterness.
• Only the 5 large breweries inside Munich supply Oktoberfest: Munchen, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbrau, Lowenbrau, Paulaner and Spaten-Franziskaner-Brau.
• Each brewery operates a tent where the celebration is held. Tents hold up to 10,000 patrons.
• The mayor taps the first keg at noon on the first day of Oktoberfest and pronounces “O’zapft is!” (It is tapped!)
OKTOBERFEST PHRASES TO KNOW:
Noch ein Bier, bitte [nokh eyn beer bee-teh]: Another beer, please.
Die nächste Runde zahlen Sie [dee nekh-steh roon-deh tsah-lehn see]: Next round is on him/her!
Halt deine Lederhosen fest [hahlt dey-neh leh-dehr-hoh sehn fest] Hold onto your Lederhosen!
Masskrug: 1 L beer stein
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