When spring hits, we reacquaint ourselves with old friends like IPAs, pale ales, wheat beers, pilsners, and lagers. But there’s one type that’s more synonymous with spring than the rest: bock beers.
This traditional German beer is a malty, bottom-fermented style originally brewed by monks in the winter, bottled aged, then imbibed in spring while they fasted for lent.
Nowadays most people don’t drink beer in place of food (and many bock beers are brewed throughout the year), but it remains a springtime favorite with many brands releasing seasonal bocks in February and March.
You might be wondering why your favorite bock beer is adorned with a picture of a goat. Well, that’s because of dialectical error hundreds of years ago. As long ago as the 1400s, bock beer was brewed in the Northern German city of Einbeck. This malty, sweet beer started gaining popularity and eventually made its way south to Munich. This is where the confusion began. For some reason, the name “einbeck” was pronounced as “einbock.” For those who never studied German, “ein bock” translates to “Billy goat.”
While you likely see the term “bock” and nothing else on bottles and cans of beer at your local beer distributor, there are actually a few different iterations including maibock, doppelbock, weizenbock, and eisbock.
Below, you’ll find 10 of our favorite bock beers to drink in the early spring. The list includes both American and German beers.
1. Weihenstephaner Korbinian
Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan is the oldest brewery in the world with its history traced back to 1040. The brewery named this award-winning doppelbock in honor of Saint Korbinian, the founder of Weihenstephan monastery. It’s known for its bold, rich flavors of figs, toffee, chocolate, and a gentle nutty sweetness that will warm you until the ground finally thaws.
[$3.99, 16.9-ounce bottle; drizly.com]