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.”

Recommended Glassware:

Mug or Pilsener glass

So what should you check out this week?  Try these generally available selections:

–          Victory St. Boisterous

–          Smuttynose Maibock

–          Stoudt’s Blond Double Maibock

For additional selections, check out our Maibock page … and let us know what you think about the Style –

This entry was posted in Styles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Maibock

  1. Seth Palagyi says:

    Thanks for the post as I picked up a 6pack of Victory’s St. Boisterous after reading your comments on the Maibocks. I have to admit I’m new to the Maibock style, so this was my first venture. It’s definitely an interesting combination of sweet and bitter. Started with a sweet caramel flavor, then the alcohol lends to a slight warming effect that had a pretty good kick at 7+%. I’m still getting used to the style as I normally gravitate to IPAs, but will keep my eyes open for another chance to try these at a local watering hole or 6-pack shop.

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