Being a wine lover, beer is a foreign language but I’ll do my best to decipher this language!
Bock Beer is a strong lager of German origin. Bock is German for Goat. It is typically stronger with a 6.5% alcohol content.
The difference between regular beer and bock beer is the time it is aged. Regular beer is aged for x amount of months beginning at any time of the year, on a rotation basis. Bock Beer begins in the fall only and is ready to consume in the spring. A new batch is begun again that fall.
German Brewers first produced Bock Beer for the first time in the 14th century, even though beer had been around for hundreds of years already, in the Hanseatic town of Einbeck, about 270 km from Frankfurt. Einbeck has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Various artifacts have been unearthed in the city of Einbeck itself and in the little surrounding villages over the years. They date back to the Paleolithic Era. Historical Guided Tours are available in numerous languages.
Einbeck has one of the oldest (1378), active breweries in the world, producing Einbecker beer.
Bock is historically associated with special occasions, often religious festivals such as Christmas, Easter or Lent (the latter as Lentenbock). Bocks have a long history of being brewed and consumed by Bavarian monks as a source of nutrition during times of fasting.
Larger houses are still easily identified as a brew house from the past, through their arched wide doors which was necessary when moving the brewing kettle, called a brewing pan.
Due to their Bavarian accent, citizens of Munich pronounced “Einbeck” as “ein Bock” (“a billy goat“), and thus the beer became known as “bock”. And of course goats are now associated with it.
It’s All In The Name
Several sub-styles exist, including Maibock, for the month of May, (Helles Bock, Heller Bock), a paler, more hopped version generally made for consumption at spring festivals; Doppelbock (double bock), a much stronger and maltier version; and Eisbock, an even stronger version made by partially freezing the beer and removing the ice that forms.
The Bockfest is the longest running and largest bock beer festival in the world. The first full weekend of March, Cincinnati, Ohio, hosts a Bock Parade complete with a keg of beer harnessed to a goat’s back and New Kids On The Bock.
The festival celebrates bock beer, the city’s German heritage, and the coming of spring in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Over-the-Rhine,
However, March 22 is Bock Beer Day. Shouldn’t it be the same day as the parade?
Historically, Over-the-Rhine has been a working-class neighborhood. It is also believed to be the largest, most intact urban historic district in the United States.
“The Germans live all together across the Miami Canal, which is, therefore, here jocosely called the ‘Rhine’.”
Book the Underground Tour for a look at the caverns below the city that were essential to the aging of beer.
Here in Ottawa, you can find a few German pubs:
Das Lokal on Dalhousie.
Bier Markt surprised me with a higher class decor then I expected. Plenty of traditional dishes, schnitzel, sausages, rich chocolate and 150 different types of beer. Enjoy music Wednesdays and Thursdays with the DJ and live music Fridays and Saturday nights.
Central Bierhaus in Kanata.
These have been mentioned in a previous post (Mulled Wine) and I have now visited 2 of these establishments. One more to go!
Please Drink Responsibly
Posted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on March 20, 2017