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Dopplebocks are a spring tradition that began with monks in Germany

salvatorThis time of year is special to Christians world-wide. From Fat Tuesday to Good Friday, Christians celebrate the season of Lent when Jesus went into the desert to fast and pray before his crucifixion. It is a serious time that is revered by both lay persons and those who have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord.

So, what is the connection to beer? It seems that the German Paulaner monks at Cloister Neudeck ob der Au in Munich took their fasting serious during Lent and ate no solid food during the Holy time. Therefore, instead of making bread with their grain they brewed beer – what they called liquid bread to sustain them through the long season.

The beer they brewed has gone by several names including Fastenbier or Starkbier it is more commonly known as Doppelbock. According to the Beer Judge Certification Program guidelines, this brew should be very rich and malty with a touch of chocolate but still crisp and smooth. Doppelbock, literally double bock, is generally relatively high in alcohol at between 7 and 12 percent. In the higher alcohol versions, there is generally a mild burn from the alcohol.

This classic Bavarian style has a long and checkered history. Depending on which documents you believe, the style began somewhere between 1630 and 1670. Being men of the cloth, the monks were not so sure that they should be drinking such an intoxicating and delicious brew during Lent, typically a time of denial. So, they sought guidance from their earthly leader, the Holy Father himself in Rome.

The monks dispatched a keg of their brew to Rome, but since the journey was long and wound through the Alps and the hot plains, of Italy the beer got warmed in the sun and shaken by the road over a period of several weeks. When it arrived in Rome it had been through quite an ordeal and was less than ideal for consumption. The pope took one taste of the brew and decided that such a vile brew would be fitting as a drink during a time when the monks were supposed to be denying themselves earthly pleasures.

But, monks are not the only ones to have used the brew as a means of fasting. A few years ago a J. Wilson approached an Iowa brewery and asked them to create a Doppelbock for him. His goal was to imitate the Paulaner monks and go on a liquid diet for the entire Lenten season.  Wilson drank four beers on weekdays and five on weekends along with water and ate nothing during his fast. At the end of his Lenten experiment he was 25 pounds lighter and reported very few ill effects. However, in an interview for Men’s Health magazine, Wilson said he would not recommend the diet as a healthy way to lose weight.

The monks of eventually named their brew Salvator after the savior. In deference to that original brew, when imitators began making their own versions, most were named with the –ator ending to the appellation. Commercial versions that are currently available include Spaten Optimator and Ayinger Celebrator. Recently the style was reproduced in Jacksonville by Intuition Ale Works as a special beer for the brewery’s Mug Club.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2013 in Beer, Beer Styles

 

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Pele’s Wood Fire to host Cigar City beer dinner

CigarCityBrewingPele’s Wood Fire has established itself as a restaurant that takes craft beer seriously. Not only do they have an excellent selection of 50 brews on tap, but they also have had a tradition of pairing those brews with Chef Micah’s brilliant culinary creations. Coming up on January 22 Pele’s will present a beer pairing dinner featuring Chef Micah’s creations paired with Cigar City brews.

Cigar City Brewing has made a name for themselves as producers of excellent craft beer. This was never more evident than at last year’s Great American Beer Festival where the CCB booth had line scores deep. Attending the dinner at Pele’s will be Travis Kruger, who runs the CCB tasting room at the brewery in Tampa.

The beer and food pairings are:

Reception beer: Hotter Than Helles German-style Helles lager.

Dinner 1st Course
Lambs lettuce, Radishes and Carrots Wheat Beer Bagna Cauda
Beer pairing: Florida Cracker Belgian-style Witbier

2nd Course
Mozzarella Arancini Sicilian fried risotto stuffed with hand-made mozzarella and orange basil mayonaise
Beer pairing: Roarin’ Lion Calypso IPA

3rd Course
Beer Cheese “Cappuccino” Soup Malt milk crackers, tomato, sweet onion, and cream
Beer pairing: Minaret ESB English-style Extra Special Bitter

4th Course
Prime Rib Braciole Rosemary potatoes, Rapini, and wood fired dopplebock marinara
Beer pairing: Resonator Dopplebock German-style Dopplebock

5th Course Tobacco smoked chocolate ice cream cone, spun with liquid Nitrogen, set on an Italian pizzelle waffle cookie cone
Beer pairing: Maduro Brown Ale

Reception begins at 6:00 p.m. and the first course will be served at 6:30 p.m. The price of the dinner is $65 and includes tax and tip. You can reservations for the dinner by calling Pele’s Wood Fire at (904)232-8545.

Keep up to date on all the beer happenings and news going on in town at the ALL NEW www.JaxBeerGuy.com.

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2013 in Beer Dinner

 

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Thasnksgiving beer pairings just in time for your feast

Not long ago I was asked what beers would be on my Thanksgiving table this year. While I had a quick answer at the time, I started thinking about what would really be good with the different foods that are part of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. I started thinking about the flavors and what would truly work best with them. Below are my recommendations of beers to try with the various courses of your Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving feasting in my family begins the moment you walk through the front door. Generally there are platters of cheese, crackers, and other salty, savory snacks. These types of snacks are perfect for a well-hopped Pale Ale. Locally, here in Jacksonville, a perfect choice for this is Intuition Ale Works’ People’s Pale Ale. For those out of the area looking for a good Pale Ale try Dales Pale Ale or the granddaddy of all Pale Ales: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. These beers will also pair well with appetizers like shrimp cocktail or bruschetta with tomatoes and basil.

Thanksgiving dinner proper begins with a salad in my family. My mother has a favorite oriental style salad she makes with a sesame seed oil and vinegar dressing and dry Ramen Noodles crumbled into it that is a hit with our gang. The sweet salad dressing deserves a beer that will not over-power it so I like pair it with a Belgian White Ale like Blanche de Bruxelles. The wonderful balance of coriander and citrus in this brew enhances the sweet and tangy dressing marvelously without overpowering it with hops or malty sweetness. Try this beer with other similar, sweet salad dressings since the spices can hold up to the flavors of sweet lettuce, tomato, carrot, and cucumber.

For the main course of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, cranberry sauce, and so on you have to decide a direction to go. I have always aimed for a beer that would take a middle road through all of these flavors, enhancing them without distracting from them. Many beer connoisseurs will point you towards a toasty, malty beer like a Brown Ale. I don’t disagree with that in theory, but for my taste – and I think a lot of other folk’s if they have the where-with-all to save it – Oktoberfest Marzen works wonderfully. Oktoberfest-style beers have many of the characteristics of Brown Ales, but tend to have a cleaner finish. To me that is important. I want a beer that is going to refresh and cleanse my palate between bites, not leave a lingering malty flavor. One of my favorite Oktoberfest beers is Ayinger Oktoberfest. You may still be able to find some at your local beer store, so hurry on out for it. If Ayinger is not available try others like Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest of Flying Fish Oktoberfish.

At the end of the turkey gorging, there are always all those wonderful desserts. In our family that means pumpkin pie, apple pie, and rich chocolate cake. But, I have also seen families who serve mouth-watering desserts such as trifles and carrot cake. What you want here is a beer that can add its own spiced, sweet flavors while still allowing the delicious desserts to shine. In my recommendation recently, I suggested Southern Tier Pumking to pair with pumpkin, sweet potato, or pecan pie. The pumpkin spices in this brew are marvelous and will enhance your enjoyment of the pies. For chocolate desserts I have a bit of a wild idea: chocolate chili beers. You may have to look a bit for one of these but if you can find them try, Samuel Adams The Vixen a Bock beer brewed with dark cocoa nibs, cinnamon, and chilies; or try Cigar City Hunahpu an Imperial Brown Ale brewed with Peruvian cacao nibs, ancho and pasilla chilies, Madagasgar vanilla beans, and cinnamon.

At the end of the meal, while you are lying on the sofa in all your stuffed majesty, watching the football games a good easy-drinker would probably hit the spot. What you probably want after all that food is a lighter, lower-alcohol brew to relax with. Again, for those who think ahead, grab your growler and head to one of the many great breweries in Jacksonville. You can even pick up a six-pack of Intuition Ale Works’ Jon Boat Coastal Ale at most local grocery stores.

But, no matter what beers you decide to serve with your Thanksgiving meal, it is my sincere wish that you have a safe and happy day with your family and friends. I also hope that you will take a moment to think about all that we have to be thankful for, in particular, please take a moment to think about the many United States Service Members who are away from their families – whether over-seas or domestically – that proudly protect our rights and freedoms.

Keep up to date on all the beer happenings and news going on in town at the ALL NEW www.JaxBeerGuy.com.

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2012 in Beer, Beer Food Pairing

 

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