Thursday, July 24, 2008
5 beer styles you've never heard of: Doppelbock
Part 2 of 5, continues with the thrilling style of doppelbocks (or double bocks). I was recently drinking a doppelbock with my father in law and he asked me what exactly a dobbelbock was and I thought this might be a great topic for this series of posts. Seeing that this style is based on bock beer, it probably makes sense to discuss what a bock beer is first. Bock is a strong lager which has origins in the town of Einbeck, Germany. The name is some variation on the town's name Einbeck (you say beck, I say bock) and additionally the word literally means goat in German. Its common to see a goat on the label of a bock beer.
Bock was traditionally brewed for special occasions, usually religious festivals such as Christmas, Easter or Lent. Bocks have a long history of being brewed and consumed by Catholic monks in Germany. During the season of Lent, monks were required to fast. High-gravity Bock beers are higher in calories and nutrients than lighter lagers, thus providing sustenance during this period. Similar high-gravity Lenten beers of various styles were brewed by Monks in other areas of Europe (we are talking about Trappist beer here folks). It was rumored that Martin Luther drank this beer during the Diet of Worms (I am not going to pretend to be a specialist on the Diet of Worms, see the following link for more if you interested).
A doppelbock is essentially a big bock. The beer was first brewed by the monks of St. Francis of Paula. Alcohol content ranges from 6% to over 10% by volume. Historic versions had lower alcohol content and higher sweetness, and was considered "liquid bread" by the monks. Most versions are dark colored, but pale versions do exist. Doppelbocks are not usually known for being hop bombs, but rather malt monsters (its fun speaking beer geek). Personally I enjoy a dobbelbock with a smooth toasty-bready flavor. The Minim monks who originally brewed Doppelbock named their beer "Salvator", which today is trademarked by Paulaner. In homage to the original, it is traditional for breweries to give their Doppelbocks names that end in "-ator
Some great examples of German brewed doppelbocks are Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock, Paulaner Salvator, Spaten Optimator, and Weihenstephaner Korbinian (this brewery can trace their roots back to the year 1040, mind blowing). There are several great American brewed versions of this style that you can readily find locally: Victory St. Victorious, Bell's Consecrator Doppelbock, and Troegs Troegenator.
In his book, "The Brewmaster's Table" Garret Oliver says that the perfect pairing for a doppelbock is venison. Additionally, he says that the sweet maltiness of the beer pairs well with classic fruit sauces like a sour cherry reduction to top the venison. He additionally lists duck, goose, and pork as other great pairings. I personally enjoy a rare steak paired with a doppelbock.
Drink your bock,