Bock Some History

We are still living within bock month.  Our look at this great beer now takes us to another great source for not only great beer design but also beer history.  I am talking about the book Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels.  We will only be digging into the portion of the book dealing with bocks for now, but if you find some time, it is well worth reading. 

Ray Daniels is an author of several brewing books, an instructor at the Siebel Institute, and he also is the founder of president of the Cicerone program.  This certification program, similar to the sommlier program, is designed to ensure beer is properly handled and served in a manner deserving of its heritage.
If you are looking for a recipe book, this is not a book for you.  The information inside is there for you to learn and create your own recipes.  It follows a theme in many of the books that stay in my bookshelves.  When you have the right tools you can create your own recipes. This is a great book to help a brewer design their own recipes.  But this is not the aspect of the book we will be looking at for now.

Earlier this month we examined what the BJCP lists as the style guidelines of the Bock style beer.  Now we will look at a bit of the history behind this style (using Designing Great Beers as our guide). 

Early History
In the 13th Century Einbeck was known for 3 things beer, wine, and linen.  Through joining with the Hanseatic League the beer of Einbeck was able to travel through much of Germany. 

The 30 Years war (1618-1648) crippled the beer trade in Einbeck as well as much of Germany for many years. 

In 1612 in Munich an Einbeck brewer helped to create a beer similar to the Einbeck style but with modifications.  This version is the one closer to the bock style we know today.

Paulaner Monks or monks from the order of St. Francis originating in Paula Italy created a beer they called Salvator (the savior) to sustain them during Lenten and Advent fasting. 

It wasn’t until 1780 that the beer was offered to the public.  This was when it was found to be a similar beer to the bock style. 

The Salvator name was trademarked in 1894.  Since that time beers following that style have used the designator -ator. 

U.S. Bock
German immigrants of the late 1800s were most prominant brewers in the US. 

First referrence to bock in the US was in 1852 from Best and Company (which eventually became Pabst)

It wasn’t until the 20th century that paler bocks started to appear, mostly in the US.  German bocks like many beers in Germany held strong to traditions (though this is changing)

Time for a pint…


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