Let me preface this post by saying that the Maibock / Helles Bock style might possibly be the ULTIMATE GATEWAY BEER. It’s a style that brings equal parts bitterness and sweetness, with a very smooth-across-the palate mouthfeel, and a decent, but never high alcohol level… allowing you the ability to enjoy more than one without losing your faculties.
But ahhh yes, the Maibock is but a seasonal release – traditionally released during the first week in May – so the style’s incredibly well-balanced qualities are often easily forgotten as the months pass through the summer and then into the sexier and more outrageous beer style months of Fall and Winter.
During the first two weeks of May this year, this guy (insert thumbs pointing at self) was fortunate enough to enjoy 3 of the best Maibocks produced in the United States… it started with a re-acquaintance to Victory’s St. Boisterous (via a case from Frank Smith’s), followed closely by a couple “Dax” 2010 Maibocks from Sly Fox at the annual Goat Races, and then, during a trip to Scottsdale the other week, I just happened to have a lunch meeting at Gordon Biersch where I found myself having quite possibly my favorite Maibock to date – in fact, according to Don Russell’s most recent article in Beer Advocate, it was the signature beer that inspired Dan Gordon to pursue brewing in the first place.
Sometimes referred to as a Helles Bock, Heller Bock, or even Fruhlingsstarkier (Spring strong beer), the Brewers Association describes the style as the following:
“Traditional bocks are made with all malt and are strong, malty, medium- to full-bodied, bottom-fermented beers with moderate hop bitterness that should increase proportionately with the starting gravity. Hop flavor should be low and hop aroma should be very low. Bocks can range in color from deep copper to dark brown. Fruity esters should be minimal.”
Mug or Pilsener glass
So what should you check out this week? Try these generally available selections:
For additional selections, check out our Maibock page … and let us know what you think about the Style –