From Einbeck to Houston

You may have heard of bock beer before. As it turns out, there are a few pretty popular iterations of the style here in Texas. It’s also likely you have some strong opinions about who brews the best one. We’ll keep our opinion to ourselves (no “bock takes” here) but do allow us to provide some background on authentic bock beer, as well as our spin on it.

Bock got its start in Einbeck, Germany back in the fourteenth century. We thought we were pretty special for selling our version since February 1998, turns out, we’re the new kids on the block. There were most likely mix-ups with accents throughout different regions of Germany and einbeck became einbock and then simply bock.

Traditional bock beers should have an alcohol content at or above 6.5% ABV. By law in Germany, to call a beer a bock it must be brewed to a high starting gravity and thus to a high alcohol content. Spring Bock clocks in at 6.9% ABV. So, we went a little above and beyond to check that box. You’re welcome.

Bocks were, and are, a traditional beer to drink in the Lent season to help with fasting. Rather than food, some would consume “liquid bread.” This seems like cheating to us, but whatever helps you sleep at night. A couple Spring Bocks without food certainly will.

Why do we release Spring Bock only once a year? Our Spring Bock is a lager, and a lazy one at that, typically taking 8 weeks to ferment. We simply don’t have the tank capacity to dedicate that much space to one beer on a year-round basis. The relatively quiet time period after Christmas makes for a nice time for Spring Bock to hold court in the tank farm (from December until January).

What makes our bock what it is? We use five different types of malt to create a rich, sweet complex malt flavor. We also use two central European noble hop varieties in this beer: Czech Saaz and Hallertauer.

It should be noted that there are also different variations of bock beer – some, like weizenbocks (anyone else out there remember Bishop’s Barrel No. 4?), are ales. There are also doppelbocks and maibocks. What you can expect from all versions of bock beer is a full-body, slightly sweet maltiness and low hop character. And again, higher alcohol content. If the ABV is lower than 6.5%, it’s worth asking if it’s a bock beer at all. Then again, we don’t get too persnickety about beer rules at Saint Arnold. That’s one of the great things about being an independent American craft brewer.

Overall, we feel that our version falls pretty nicely into what a traditional and authentic bock beer should be. So even if the bluebonnets haven’t blossomed yet, the shelves have. So go pick some Spring Bock while you can!

Published February 11, 2021