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03-17-00

Beer Review #319 Cultivator Helles Bock

03-17-02Even though there is another snowstorm smacking parts of the Mid-Atlantic today spring is right around the corner. Spring means that it is helles bock season! One of the newest helles bock beers, or simply helles for short, is Cultivator Helles Bock by Troegs Brewing Company.  I was at their brewery in Hershey about a month ago and I had no idea they were going to be releasing a new beer.

Cultivator pours a nice yellow orange and has a thin white head that fades to just a covering. The nose has a slight bit of sulfur along with the typical “lager smell.” It also has a great honey-like sweetness along with a crisp biscuit. I really like the combination of odors going on in this beer. I didn’t get any hops as expected.

On the first taste I did notice the flavor at first, instead I noticed how nicely this beer drank. The flavors are wonderful, but this beer took me back to my trip to Germany. It’s darn authentic and lovely. Past the nostalgia, Cultivator is big everything a helles should be. It starts with a nice light sweetness that is intertwined with biscuit and wonderfulness.  The hops come in an provide a nice bit of balancing but still leave it a bit more on the sweet end of the scale. The hops taste fresh and floral.

I could seriously drink this beer all day. It’s wonderful and makes me want to sit down with some German meatloaf, potatoes, and a fried egg. Yup, it really did take me back to Germany. I will be purchasing more of this beer shortly. (more…)

Beer Review #209 Anchor Bock Beer

One of the first craft beers that I ever had came from the Anchor Brewing Company of San Francisco, California and I have enjoyed their beers ever since. I’m a fan of their Christmas beer series that has a new recipe each year. In addition, they serve Anchor Steam at Phillies games along with a large number of craft beers. During last year’s playoffs I didn’t drink a single Anchor beer to show my support for the Phils and my dislike of the Giants, but in the end, the Giants did what the Phillies couldn’t. I’ve finally brought myself around to drinking a beer from San Francisco again, and Anchor Bock Beer is as good of a beer as any to jump back in with.

This bock pours a deep ruby to mahogany color with a tan head. This beer is much dark then what I was expecting. Generally bock’s tend to be lighter in color and double bocks tend to be closer to the color of this beer. While this beer is dark, light does pass through the clear liquid. The nose is very sweet with some strong caramels and slight bread. There is not real hop odor on the nose to cancel out any of the sweetness.

Caramel is the first flavor that I noticed when drinking this bock. The caramel is super sweet but it fades into a nice chocolate roast flavor. Again, there are not hops in this beer to help cut through the sweetness, but the slight roast helps in this respect. I found this beer to have a cigar quality to it. There was just something in it that reminded me of smoking a cigar on my back deck.

I liked this Anchor offering. It was not what I was expecting from a bock as it was far darker and roastier than expected, but it was decent. This beer would be good on those cold spring days that are full of sun, but not warmth. (more…)

Beer Review # 109 Yuengling Bock

The very first beer I reviewed on this site was Yuengling Lager. I figured it was a good starting point as I was born and raised in PA and it is America’s Oldest Brewery. They haven’t added a lot to their beer line-up unlike a lot of craft breweries, but that is because they fit into a different realm of craft brewery. A few years ago they did decide to offer one more beer their their line-up, a seasonable beer named Yuengling Bock. As you can guess, it is a bock so it comes out in later winter to early spring.

I tried it on tap when it first came out thanks to a free sample by my bartender friend and thought it was okay. At the time it was only available on draft so when I saw it in bottles this year I decided to grab one. Yuengling Bock pours a burnt orange color and has a thin, slightly off-white head. The nose isn’t terribly impressive with some slight nutty and roasty notes. I also noticed some sulfur, which is a common odor I get in lagers.

On the first taste I noticed a nutty flavor but not much else. I tried a few more drinks searching from some more flavorful notes, but there were not many distinguishing things to be found. This beer is very light and easy to drink, but doesn’t offer a ton in the flavor world. I was hoping for a bit more from this beer and at 5.1% it seemed sessionable. I liked it for what it was, but it is not a great representation of a bock. (more…)