Springtime Means It’s Bock o’Clock
Just as surely as the early Spring sun replaces snow with slush, the first breath of warm weather tends to turn some brewers’ minds toward Maibock. Maibock, of course, is what our friends in Germany call a strong lager consumed during the month of May. You gotta love it – they have a clever word for everything.
You also may have heard the Maibock style referred to as Heller Bock. This essentially means Pale Bock, or a Munich Helles brewed to Bock strength.
Whatever you call it, Maibock expresses itself with a lightly toasted or bready malt character, moderate hop bitterness, and some downright amicable alcohol warmth in the range of 6.3 to 8.1% ABV. Close relatives of Maibock include:
- Doppelbock: Double Bock, a stronger version of the strong lager
- Eisbock: Ice Bock, made even stronger yet through “freeze distilling”
- Weizenbock: Wheat Bock, similar to Dunkelweizen but more robust and powerful
Often released in late April or early May, Maibock is a celebratory beer typically reserved for cherished springtime traditions such as Raking Up Last Year’s Leaves and Getting Sunburnt While Hosing Off the Dodge. Though other Bock styles may have come first, Maibock’s dry palate and spicy hop profile are always first of mind when the frost retreats.
Classic & Contemporary Examples
- Hofbräu Maibock (Germany)
- Ayinger Maibock (Germany)
- New Glarus Cabin Fever (WI)
- Sierra Nevada Pale Bock (CA)
- Lakefront Brewery Maibock (WI)
- Utepils Springbok (MN)
Ingredients for Your Consideration
Brewed to be strong, malty, and light amber or paler in color, a good and healthy Maibock is built on a firm foundation of Pils, Vienna, and Munich malts. Here are a few options we know and love:
- Crafted for low color and low modification, Rahr North Star Pils™ brings notes of honey, sweet bread, hay, and nuttiness to classic lager styles
- Processed from the finest Canadian two-row available, Gambrinus Pils is low-protein, high-flavor, and versatile across styles and genres like Canadian-born recording artist Shania Twain
- Ideal for any amber beer, Gambrinus Vienna Malt offers balanced bready character plus traces of honey, toffee, and caramel
- Plump, sweet, and mellow, Gambrinus Munich Light presents impressions of toast, pretzel, toffee, and caramel
- Weyermann® Barke® Munich brings forth enhanced body and rich aromatics of honey and biscuit
- Weyermann® Vienna Malt produces a full-bodied lager with golden color and smooth mouthfeel