Ahhhhh… Bock season in Cincinnati. There are few things that let me know that spring is on its way better than the smell of cold bock beer and sausage in the morning. Although bockfest itself deserves mention in a post about Bock Beer, this is serving a much bigger purpose than just telling you about an event that you need to go to. This is a guide through the gallons of bock beer that you desire to consume during the early spring in Cincinnati. I know there’s a lot to wade through to find all the bocks, but I’m the Gnome… I’m here for you!
Here they are. All the bocks pulled into one handy list. If I missed any let me know!!!
- Fluss Bock – sign me up… Fluss Bock is a 4.9% Bock Beer. Definitely a little on the lighter side of the Bock spectrum, it seems like it’s going to be easy drinking and a perfect addition to their already nice and approachable lineup.
- Bayern Kurve – This beer is a new one for me because it’s a new one here in Cincinnati! It should be hitting the 16 Lots taps very soon, they were aiming for “mid-February”, so keep your eyes open! I don’t know a lot of details about it beyond that, but I anticipate a nice malty sweet Helles or Maibock, which is right in the wheelhouse of what 16 Lots does so well.
- Ignitor – You can’t talk about Bock beers in Cincinnati anymore without mention of their Ignitor Maibock. I was hoping to see this one in cans this year, but I feel like we would have heard some rumblings of rumors of that by now if it was going to happen. Either way, go to Braxton, or the labs and do your self a favor by not only trying this, but by filling a crowler of it as well. You’re going to want more, I promise.
- Doppelbock – Brink has really got people talking this year, and I have high hopes for how their Doppelbock is going to add to the much-deserved hype that now surrounds them. These guys know what they’re doing, and going the Doppelbock route instead of a lighter bock style is a good one in my book!
- Emancipator – Moerlein has become synonymous with Bockfest in Cincinnati, and this beer is the big name in bock beers here in town. It’s no wonder that it won a silver medal at GABF, it’s freaking delicious. The beer is available on draft, and for the first time this year in cans too!
- Hudy Bock – Hudy Bock is where you turn when you want something a little lighter drinking than Emancipator, but when you still want the full flavor that a bock will give you. In the past, it has made its way into bottles, but the last few years have only brought it to the tap lines of Moerlein.
- Schoenling Bock – This draft only bock is the winner of last years Bockfest homebrew competition, and likewise, the winner of this years competition will be next years. The ever-evolving recipe is usually my first beer of Bockfest, and I have yet to be let down by that decision.
- Fourteen/165 – In a fun surprise (for me) Moerlein has also just announced that their anniversary beer for 2018 will be a single hopped Maibock called Fourteen/165 (You can read a little more about their anniversary series if you’re not familiar). To craft this one, they took a 7.2% ABV Maibock and hit it with just cascade hops for a nice meld of classic German styles with a modern craft beer spin… what else would you expect them to do? Look for this one on draft only, and they’ll be tapping it for Bockfest this year!
- Freiheit – This beer has quickly made its way to the top of my list of favorite bock beers in Cincinnati. The move to a larger brewhouse and space has done amazing things for DogBerry’s ability to put out some really outstanding lagers, and their bock beer is certainly one of them. If you haven’t tried it, or haven’t tried it in a couple of years I can’t emphasize enough to not miss this draft only beer!
- Road Bock – Fifty West’s Road Bock has been around in Cincinnati for a while, and the MaiBock remains a crowd pleaser. It’s nice and sweet, with a really delicious toasty character. It comes in around 6% so it fits the bill if you want a beer that cuts through the chilly spring air, without knocking you on your butt. While Fifty has recently started canning a few core beers, this one is only on draft around town.
- Reverberator – this is a new one, a doppelbock. With Kevin Moreland on board, though I have extremely high expectations for how it will taste. I anticipate a malty sweet masterpiece.
- Doppelbock – Hofbrau prides themselves on doing things traditionally to their German roots, so it’s no surprise that they’ve tapped a Doppelbock as their seasonal beer in Newport.
- Maibock – Why be satisfied with just one bock beer when you’re a German brewery? Hofbrauhaus is not… they’ve got a second one in their arsenal. This Maibock is another seasonal offering, draft only, but you’ll have to pay attention to their social media to see when it comes on tap!
- Friar Bacon – Listermann’s owner and fearless leader Dan Listermann stays hands off when it comes to planning what beers to make any more, instead trusting his incredible team. All that goes out the window, though for Bock season. Friar Bacon is a must brew and is a heavily smoked Doppelbock similar to anything you’d find straight out of Bamburg. It’s delicious. This years version will be draft only – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hit the taproom and snag a pint or two for yourself.
- Bockaveli – This draft only MadTree beer should be making its appearance “very soon” according to MadTree. Think nuttiness, with a touch of sweet chocolate notes and dark brown sugar highlights when you imagine this beer, and you’ll quickly figure out exactly why you need to seek it out!
- Heller Bock – The Lager love that March First twists into nearly everything they do doesn’t just stop with light lagers and pilsners – they keep their Heller Bock on tap and in bottles nearly year round, making it a special one on the list. This will be their first real Bockfest season, though and I anticipate that they’ll go through quite a bit of it in their taproom and around town to celebrate.
- Barrel Aged Bock – yeah… they did it. Barrel Aged Bock! March First is releasing this at “special venues” around town for Bock season. Let me know where and when you see it!!!
- The Billy Baroo – This doppelbock is on tap starting March 2nd at noon – and if you are a fan of the style, Paradise is making a real name for themselves as one of the “Under The Radar” breweries to watch this year, I can imagine that this is going to be a good one. It clocks in at 8% ABV, and if you are reading this before the tapping, they’re going to be throwing a ‘Blessing of the Bock’ which will have Chef Tony’s Brew City Sausage infused with the beer being served out of the Bratmobile… yeah… you need to go.
- Nati Bock – Queen City finally got time to make a Bock this year, and they’re tapping it on Saturday 3/3 in their taproom during their own “Bockfest-ivities” celebration. I’m curious to try this one, for sure. It’s a good thing we’ll be out for a Brewcast soon… stay tuned!
- Vincent Van Bock – I don’t think Rhinegeist has jumped into the Bock game at all in years past, so I’m dying to get my hands on this draft only beer to see what they do to put their own spin on things. My sources tell me that it’s a Heller Bock, clocking in at 6.8%, but beyond that, I know very little! Let me know what you think when you get your hands on a glass of it!
Taft’s Ale House
- Billy Goat Bock – not exactly the same as last years recipe, Taft’s Helles Bock called Billy Goat Bock is getting tapped on 3/2 in Nellie’s taproom. Keep your eyes peeled and don’t miss out on this one, as they’ve had a few really great bocks to come out in the last few years, and I expect this one to be fantastic as well!
- West Side Bock – These guys have another that we can add to the “New And I need To Try” List. I can without a doubt tell you though that I’ve been really pleased with everything that I’ve had from them lately, which makes me pretty excited to try this one.
- Doppelbock – West Side has been busy this winter. Not satisfied with just a traditional Bock, they’ve also got plans to tap this 8% Doppelbock right around the beginning of March for Bockfest!
- Woodburn Bock – Last years Bockfest brought Woodburn’s bock into the game, it was 6.7% ABV and nice and malty, sweet. It was right on to the style, and fit in alongside some of the other nice malty bocks that you can find around town. Keep your eyes open to see if this one appears again this year.
- Hell Yes – This Helles Bock is a real showcase of what Wooden Cask can do. Dead on true to the style, it’s got a nice beefy 8% ABV that makes sure that even when the spring gets a cold burst of air, you have a way to stay a little warm. Don’t miss out on this draft only offering!
Again… it bears repeating. These lists are hard to put together accurately, so if I missed something, or if I messed up and included a bock beer here that isn’t going to be around this year – Please, please let me know!
See you all at Bockfest!