Ah, Spring. What a wonderful time of year to come out of the blustery winter weather and hop into some warmer temps and see things come to life (At least in New England, where plants and emotions die each and every winter). Spring for me means planting the garden, raking all the leaves that I missed in the fall, and changing out the “Regular” beer lineup that has been stoking the belly fires for several cold months. My first change? Bring on the Bock!
Throw out the name Anchor Brewing and most people, even the well-initiated, will immediately think of their flagship Steam Beer. I like Anchor Steam as much as the next guy, and probably the guy next to him, but for a beer to help me bridge the small gap between Winter and Summer I’m looking for something a bit darker, maltier, and a beer with a bit more oomph. Anchor Bock Beer fits that description perfectly. Weighing in at 5.5% ABV, it’s on the lower end of the spectrum for a Bock, but it more than makes up for its small stature with a robust flavor and spectacular drinkability.
Poured into a Tyrolean, fluted chalice…wait…stop right there. Sorry, I drank the stubby 12oz Anchor right from the bottle (And the one that followed, and the one after that too). I know, utter sacrilege, but my proper beer handling tends to go out the window at the first sign of Spring. I promise I’ll try better next time, but for now lets just skip the appearance other than noting that it was sorta dark and bubbly, at least from what I could see through the neck of the bottle. Nose had some floral notes with a touch of sourness. I was surprised at how much sweetness was on the nose since the gravity was so much lower than most beers from this style, but it really matched up with what I’m used to from the best German Bocks on the market. Lots of sweet, bready malts with some very mild bitterness in the taste department. You’ll pick up some caramel for sure, which should be a unifying taste of any Bock you’ll come across. Mouthfeel was smooth, as should be expected from a mid-weight Lager, although it was probably lighter in feel than I’m used to. Any heavier and I would have wanted the Anchor Bock in the middle of the Winter, so I’m quite pleased with the perfect balance that it brings to a Spring brew.
Overall, the Anchor Bock Beer is highly drinkable and should be a staple Spring session for all Aleheads (Or Lagerheads, to be more precise). I’ll go with 3 hops for this brew since it meets expectations but won’t blow you away. I’m not a huge lager guy to begin with and I’d much prefer a Dopplebock, but for a good transition out of the Winter you could do a lot worse.