Monday, April 7, 2008

Enough With The Doppelbocks Already!

Ok, we're done with doppelbocks for a while. But not before we bring to you the king of doppelbocks, the Ayinger Celebrator. A low-alcohol beer for the style, it weighs in at a "mere" 6.7% ABV, but it will change your mind about what you think a doppelbock should be.

In fact, the doppelbock style is one of the more diverse styles in the beer ecosystem. While the stereotype of the style is thick, and malty, with strong notes of bread and caramel exemplified by Tucher's example, there are some like Capital's Autumnal Fire that are lighter and even sweeter, or Ale Asylum's Bamboozleator which keeps some of the body, but brings in more of the coffee notes.

Moreover, the doppelbock is a style that is hard to like. The intense concentration of malts and lack of any hopping make them, at time, very unbalanced beers in the same ways, but opposite, that some IPA's can be overly hoppy and cloyingly bitter. A poorly made doppelbock will be syrupy and overly sweet, sort of like drinking straight maple syrup. The best made doppelbocks are amazingly complex, with notes of fig and coffee along side the bread and caramel, well enough carbonated to not be syrupy, but weighty enough to be sustenance on the early and late-winter days for which they were intended.

Personally, it took me years to appreciate the style. For some unknown reason I kept drinking them. The beer snobs I had come in contact with all praised these beers as some of the best examples of some of the best breweries in the world. In other words, contrary to Anheuser-Busch's assertions, the doppelbock is the king of beers - a style that is all about subtlety.

If a brewery can make a good doppelbock, it is a good brewery; though I wouldn't go so far as to say a brewery should be judged by its doppelbock, unless it wants to be. It's not a picky beer, like Barleywines - barleywines are either good or bad, there are very few mediocre barleywines in the world; but, it's not a simple beer like the amber ale - it takes a world-class f-up to screw up an amber. It is a sophisticated beer - the very best in the world reveal new flavors and aromas at each experience; yet, the doppelbock goes very well with simple fare like hamburgers.

Ayinger Celebrator
Appearance: A deep ruby red, with off-white soapy head; mild carbonation with small, fine bubbling
Aroma: earthy, a cherry fruity brightness underlies the mild malt breadiness
Flavor: smooth, velvety, mild and full with complex malt flavors, the munich malts shine through nicely; fig and cherries come through just before the long, full bodied finish
Body: medium to full bodied; it seems much fuller than it is, but is definitely a meal and a half
Drinkability: one of the most drinkable full-bodied beers I've had
Summary: versatile, goes well with beef roulade and hamburgers; a must-drink for any doppelbock fan and will convert the unconvinced; the goat trinket is almost worth the price of the six-pack

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.