Maibock – Tradition Meets Innovation

A glass of beer
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The Bock beer season is still in full swing: true beer connoisseurs are now drinking Maibock. But how exactly is this type of beer different from other Bock beers?

Every season has its own type of beer. While strong and dark stouts, porters and barley wines are usually enjoyed in winter, beer connoisseurs prefer drinking light session ales, modern wheat beers or fruity India Pale Ales in the summer months. But what happens between the two? The Maibock season is just beginning. Although this traditional type of beer was, for many years, reserved for real enthusiasts, lots of creative international breweries have since discovered it.

A Maibock is actually a classic, pale Bock beer – a strong Bavarian beer. It is alleged that the first beer of this type was brewed by Munich’s Hofbräu in 1614. Every year, the high-percentage, malty strong beer with hoppy notes brings thousands of tourists from all over the world to the German Maibock regions where they can enjoy this specialty. These days, brewers usually use a different grain mill than was used in the past. The once dark caramel, Munich varieties have been replaced with light Viennese or caramel malts. The Maibock now stands out against other Bock varieties thanks to additional aromas and slightly increased acerbity. The alcohol percentage is usually more than six percent, which means it also has a high original wort. However, Bocks available in the spring are highly attenuated and are therefore light-bodied and extremely drinkable.

Similar to the India Pale Ales trend, Maibocks are also creating new opportunities for fans of hops and creative craft brewers. For example in the vats of the Bosch brewery in Bad Laasphe, east of Cologne. Christian Bosch is one of the pioneers of the Bock scene, using flowery, citrus aromas to flavor this somewhat traditional beer specialty. In order to allow the full taste to develop, he also packs the hops into the storage tank, which is rather unusual when it comes to traditional Bock beers.

To find out more about the different Bock beers, visit the place2beer at drinktec, where you will find qualified beer sommeliers and innovative brewers willing to share their knowledge, as well as one or two Bock beers to try for yourself. In addition, Bock beers are now important categories at the European Beer Star competition, one of the most renowned in the world. The public tasting session at the awards, to be held on September 12, will offer every drinktec attendee the opportunity to test and rate top-quality beers from around the world. You’ll be sure to find some Bock beers among them.

Mareike Hasenbeck

Mareike Hasenbeck is a freelance journalist with her own craft beer blog (Feiner Hopfen), she is also a beer sommelier and an international expert for beer sensory certified by the DLG (German Agricultural Society).