Before After Triple Bock

Image courtesy of thebeerfan.com

Image courtesy of thebeerfan.com

Do you ever impulse buy a single bottle because it is cheap ($1.69 for a 16.9 oz. bottle) and strong (12% ABV) and has a label so weird that you just can’t resist it?  Before After (or After Before, depending) Triple Bock is one of those beers for me.  I don’t know if I’ve had a triple bock before, or if there’s really such a thing.  The local Binny’s always stocks weird beers from former Soviet territories, and I’ve always wondered what Moldovan, Latvian and Estonian beer was like, so it’s no surprise that I buy these odd bottles.  That section on the shelf might very well be there for me.  Before After is a Lithuanian offering, from Brewery Rinkuskiai (see Dragon Lady post), and turns out to be a pretty good value.

Before After pours a medium gold with plenty of carbonation and a nominal head.  It’s truly sweet smelling with a distinct alcohol bite.  Call it foreshadowing.  It is super smooth on the tongue, creamy, not too fizzy, and gut-warming for sure.  There are no hops to speak of, at least their presence is so overshadowed by the sweetness and alcohol sharpness that there really isn’t a relevant adjective to add here.  That being said, Before After is pretty good, and dangerously drinkable.  It’s as sweet and as strong as the initial whiff leads you to believe.  I sveikata!

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Maibock

Image courtesy of Fort Collins Brewery.

Image courtesy of Fort Collins Brewery.

Deep orange with a good dose of carbonation, minimal head and noteworthy lacing, Maibock from Fort Collins Brewery is a malt- forward brew that is as good in Oktober as it is in Mai.  There’s a generous amount  of yeasty, doughy, bready malt in the bouquet.  Roasted caramel malt notes drives Maibock, but the underlying light hoppy dryness is its willing passenger.  But really, Maibock is about the malt.  It really thickens the saliva and is generously sweet without becoming grossly sweet.  With an ABV of 6.4%, Maibock does warm the senses a bit, too, especially in the 22 oz bottle form.  It’s an all-around good beer.  It would wash down spicy foods nicely.  I’m thinking spicy chorizo and frijoles negros tacos might be a nice pairing.

82/100 bock

Noche Buena

Image courtesy of Beer Bouquet.com

Noche Buena from Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma, Monterrey, Mexico is kind of flat-looking and headless, being deep copper to brown in color.  There is a mild spiciness in the bouquet, a little butter as well, and sweetness.  The taste follows the bouquet, lightly peppery and bitter, but still sweetish.  The finish holds the bitterness for a long time compared to other beers in the bock family.  It’s basically Negra Modello with an education.  I wanted to love it as I was excited by its recent availability, but can only say I like it OK.

69/100 Bock Beer

Sam Adams Chocolate Bock

Deep brown with a hint of ruby and a creamy, 1-finger head, Sam Adams Chocolate Bock is beautiful to behold.  There is a whiff of yeast and cocoa in the opening “pish”, and a tangy, tartness about the bouquet.  Surprisingly, there isn’t much else to the bouquet.  I really had to search hard to find anything, but perhaps there was some Cocoa Krispies or Cocoa Hoots.  The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, and ahh, there it is, the chocolate I expected.  It now seems to be brownie-like with a bit of bunt or bittersweet chocolate in the finish.  I will say it’s OK at best, but I prefer chocolate notes that come from non-chocolate brew ingredients.  I’m not into it, and won’t finish it.

Leinenkugel 1888 Bock

Tastes like I remember in 1988.

I have to say I’m always pulling for Leinenkugel.  I was concerned when they became involved with Miller to expand their distribution network.  Their quality has not suffered and their introduction of new varieties of beer has been a blessing to beer drinkers.  Leinenkugel’s 1888 Bock is a Pepsi-brown beauty, it’s able to support a decent head for a long time and produce ample splotchy lacing.  It has a good amount of visible carbonation and the subtle toasted grain and light carmel bouquet has a hint of nuts and an even slighter hint of smoke.  The smooth, creamy texture is inviting, and a mild carmelly sweetness devolves into a lingering nutbread note.  A light dryness appears in the finish.  Rroasty, toasty and wonderful.

Stieglbock

Another reason to love Austria.

One of the best things about Stieglebock is the fact that the brewers say the flavor and taste varies from year to year.  Makes it kind of an adventure.  Adventure is good.  This year I can tell you that it is medium gold with a fluffy white head and a sweet bouquet with a light but noticeable hop presence.  It’s smooth-textured, again sweet, then sharp and crisp in the finish.  It’s well balanced.  Finally, there’s a hint of alcohol in the exhale (it’s a 7% ABV brew) and a hint of a smile beginning on your face.

Uff-da by New Glarus, for my pal Montague

A good day trip from Chicago can take you through Monroe, New Glarus and Middleton, Wisconsin, and can be a rewarding beer and cheese experience.  I’ve done it, and would do it again in a heartbeat.  I have mentioned the “Disappointment in Monroe” and their products before, but in New Glarus my disappointment turns to glee and even giddiness.  It is a town of good food and great beer.  Uff-da has a very sweet, rich bouquet which greets the nose immediately upon opening the bottle.  It is somewhere in the amber-to-mahogany color range, and is surprisingly headless for a malty beer, although there is plenty of carbonation to be seen. Not much lacing to mention either.   The taste is sweet, but not overly, and their is a hint of coffee in the finish.  Overall a pleasant beer, notable for it’s sweet qualities, but maybe lacking a little something.  I absolutely love their Spotted Cow, Organic Revolution, Fat Squirrel and Belgian Red, but that’s a story for another day.