By Steve Lonsway
Spring is almost here and with that comes warmer temperatures, melting snow, budding trees and Bock beers (not necessarily in that order). We, the Stone Arch Brew team, wanted to write this month’s article on this style, and who better to represent it than the state’s leader for craft beer production…New Glarus Brewing Company.
First off we want to shoot down the misconceptions that Bock beers are from the bottom of the barrel and a result of “spring cleaning” of tanks. Bock beers actually got their start in the 14th century in northern Germany and were brewed and aged during the winter months. In many instances the beers were allowed to rest for long periods of time in cool and dark caves which really allowed the beer to settle out and clarify. It is also important to note that Einbeck, Germany, the birthplace of Bocks, is also one of the earliest hop growing regions in the world. You see, hops have a preservative nature to them and when added to beer, stability is increased. This all came at a time when beers were being transported throughout Europe and beyond because northern Germany was a major European trade center at the time of the 17th century, when the Bock style really started growing.
The label on this beer is pretty basic with its tan background and red print. A quick story of the beer resides on the right of the label with the owners signatures at the bottom and the legal mumbo jumbo to the right. The Stone Arch brew team sampled this beer from a stemmed snifter glass and poured the sample at 48 degrees as suggested on the label. It poured a reddish brown and quite murky. The head that formed was thick and had a tan tint to it, and it displayed moderate lacing throughout the sampling. The aroma came out strong with toffee, dark fruit, and a unique bready note and caramel dominating the senses. Our team shouted out many flavors as they sampled it, so fast it was hard to write them all down.
These are the flavor descriptors we noticed: cherry, chocolate, bready, Belgian yeast, toasted wheat, plum, maple, earthy, dark malt, nutty, herbal, grainy and toffee. The finish was quite satisfying with virtually no hop flavors making an appearance. We paired the Uff-da Bock with an amazing Jambalaya from Stone Arch Brewpub and it was a match made in heaven. Other pairing recommendations our team discussed were jerk chicken, grilled meats (with emphasis on rib eye), Swiss cheese and chocolate desserts.
Now let’s get into the makers of the Uff-ddda Bock; New Glarus Brewing Company, located in New Glarus, Wisconsin. Their history goes way – way back (in craft beer terms). They were founded in 1993 by a husband and wife team. Dan, the husband has been in the brewing industry since the age of 20 with possibly the most impressive resume the industry has seen, and an entrepreneurial wife, Deb who is the country’s first woman to found and operate a brewery. Together they have built their little ol’ Wisconsin brewery into the 21st largest craft brewery in the United States. What’s even more impressive than that is the fact that they do not sell their products outside of our state.
Stone Arch Brew House has a great opportunity for you to sample the Uff-da Bock as well as many other Bock style biers and spring releases at our annual BOCK FEST. We will host Bock Fest on Thursday, March 30th at Stone Arch at Riverview Gardens, 1101 South Oneida Street, Appleton. Doors open at 5:30 pm, huge German buffet starts at 6:30 with last call at 8:45. Come enjoy a German beer fest atmosphere with an amazing German buffet and live German music from Tom Schneider all for just $27 per person. German wines will be available as well. Pre-registration is recommended by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (920) 997-3332.
FINAL WORD: Don’t let this great spring beer be overshadowed by the popularity of Spotted Cow.