Wednesday Food: The Happy Marriage of Pork and Bock
I’ve been exploring Bock beers lately. It’s quickly becoming my favorite incarnation of bottom-fermenting lager. Born to those lucky medieval monks (or village plebs, according to your source) in the Lower Saxony region of Germany, Bocks were brewed heartier than most lagers, perhaps as sustenance through the Lenten months. There is a bit of dispute over name origin. Some say “Bock” is a derivation of Einbeck– the town of the beer’s origin, or it could be a translation of the German word for goat or ram, as this style would have been brewed under the sign of Capricorn.
Often overlooked by drinkers of Wit and Weiss, Bocks produce a darker, more malty sometimes spicy expression of spring, with bitter floral hops. The styles within the Bock family include Traditional Bock, Maibock/ Helles Bock, Dunkel Bock, Dopplebock, and Eisbock. Generally Bocks have an abv between 6-7%, but there are examples of Eisbock that climb up to 10-12%, (that this was Martin Luther’s beverage of choice, was glossed over in Sunday School).
My pairing features Sierra Nevada’s version of Helles Bock called Glissade, with a pork sandwich consisting of crock-pot pepper pork, and dill coleslaw. Rogue’s Dead Guy may be the most widely available version of this style but uses top-fermenting ale yeast. Smuttynose and Capital Brewing are supposed to have exceptional examples of this style, and Hofbräu München is a good German version and would be exceptional with a plate of brats and kraut.
More sophisticated than its seasonal wheat-beer brothers, the Helles Bock provides a refreshing spark one seeks on a sunny spring day.
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