I shall no longer have to fork over any dosh for Ale Stars, or at least for the next twelve months – for my birthday, I was bought membership! Bring on the monogrammed shirt and engraved tankard, squee!
The Beer Blokes have already written and published their report on Ale Stars and it prompted me to tell you all why I write about these sessions, if you’ll briefly indulge me.
I don’t know much about beer. However, I like learning. Documenting my Ale Stars impressions is a convenient way for me to retain the knowledge I learn. Beer is not something I ever thought I would develop such a liking for. Come to think of it, food wasn’t something I thought I would ever be so passionate about, but you can read about that here, if you like.
Generally speaking, the nature of blogging for me is a glorified diary but up in the public domain. Those who are interested may choose to read it, and I do genuinely hope you find it informative.
Anyway, onto the beer.
The bock is a German-style lager that originates from northern Germany but the southerners would love to have you believe they came up with it themselves. Fair enough, I say. Rather amusingly, the Bavarians pretend the word ‘bock’ is slang for ‘billy-goat’. More seriously, there are German laws that dictate how strong a bock has to be in order to be considered a bock. Again amusingly, the alcohol content of this beer (specifically the eisbock which is last on the tasting schedule for the night) was brought up by the fact that the beer would freeze in transit as it was transported from one colder region to another. Later on, the brewers decided they rather liked this, so adopted it as a method of bringing up the alcoholic content of the beer. Absolutely amazing what happens as a result of an accident.
First up, on tap, the Hunter Brewery with their bock (the Local Taphouse is showcasing this NSW-based brewery at present). I found it subtle with a hint of roastiness. I thought it would have more body than it did, and it was the colour of a dark ale. Moreish. On tap, so no pic.
The second bocky example is from Rogue Ales, based in Oregon, USA. It’s an example of what is called a maibock – a seasonal bock. This brewery uses authentic German hops. Gold, and malty, I’ve marked this one as ‘loved’ on my Ale Stars score card.
The bocks are getting progressively stronger as the session moves along.
This is from one of the oldest operating breweries in the world, circa 1040 AD (holy shit!). It’s a Weizenbock and you can detect some banana and clove in there. It’s a very palate-clean beer. I’ve definitely come round to the whole wheat beer thingy, but this would have been my least favourite.
Last of all, an eisbock – Aventinus Weizen Eisbock by G. Schneider & Sohn. I was absolutely not kidding when I said to @shandyaleczar (beloved Ale Stars host) that this beer made me have flashbacks. It may have ruined a fair few of us at a whopping 12% ABV. It feels very thin in body and reminds me of brandy in aroma. It’s very sweet as far as beer goes. Drinking this is an unforgettable experience. It’s a bit like barleywine too.
Those monks were lucky bastards to have this sort of stuff sustaining them.
Quick, not-beer-related aside – much grats to Guy and his partner on the birth of their daughter Frankie.