Beer 101: Bock Bock Beer
As May winds down, we find feeling chilly despite the long days of sunlight which beckon us out of dark drinking halls. What to drink now that stout season is over and the summer saison is yet to come? Well, the Bavarians have just the beer for you and the month of May: the Maibock.
“Mai” is German for May, and “Bock’ indicates a strong malty lager. The relative strength of Maibocks (usually clocking in around 6-7% abc) is enough to keep your warm during this transitional season, and it’s gold or deep amber hues are the perfect compliment to sunshine. Yum yum.
In fact, there seems to be a bock for every season. Helles Bock, with low alcohol and straw colour is often the summer slurper of choice. As the leaves turn red in the fall, so too does our bock of choice as many drinkers turn to the stronger toffee-colored doppelbock. And in winter, the ice distilled “eisbock” can sometimes still be found as it enjoys a bit of a renaissance after nearly disappearing for decades.
So, what’s with all the goats? Well, the original “traditional” Bock surfaced out Einbeck Germany. The most common theory is that as this beer gained popularity and was ordered in pubs across Germany, the pronunciation shifted to sound like “Ein Bock” meaning billy goat. There are some other, intense conspiracy theories concerning satanic worshippers, Goya paintings, and the Catholic church - I will allow you to draw your own conclusions on that.
Other re-occuring themes in Bock-advertising are the color red, and young girls and women pictured with the goat. Perhaps most interesting is the image of a young girl wearing a red cape in little-red-writing hood style that often resurfaces in older depictions of Bock beer. A brother’s Grimm reference perhaps? It remains a mystery, as I couldn’t dig up any information on these patterns. Your guess is as good as mine on this one.