We're pretty sure these dark bock beers are specifically designed to get us over this last frigid hump of winter. The style tends to be heavy on the malts, robust in flavor, and have just enough alcohol to warm us up. With the stormy weather keeping us inside this past weekend, we decided to give Leinenkugel's seasonal bock a try!
Beer Details - 1888 Bock from Leinenkugel Brewing Company in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Available from January to March. (5.1% ABV)
Appearance - This beer pours a truly gorgeous burnished mahogany color in the glass. It's crystal clear and shows ruby highlights against the light. An inch of tan-colored foam melted into a thin surface skin that left some light lacing around the glass.
Aroma - It was hard to put a finger on the aroma. We definitely smelled the roasted malts, along with soft brown sugar. There was also a "cooked" smell that made us think of baked potatoes or whole wheat bread fresh from the oven. We might have imagined it, but it seemed we caught just the faintest whiff of warm spices - cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
Taste - For us, the taste didn't quite live up to the aroma. It was rather thin and minerally at the beginning, like taking a sip of sparkling mineral water. This led into toasted biscuit flavors with some light molasses, with more notes of caramel as it warmed. A bitter burnt flavor hovered in the background, which we normally like, but there didn't seem to be quite enough depth from the malts to make it work.
Food Pairing - On its own, we can't say this bock was our favorite; but next to a plate of roasted chicken and potatoes, it worked very well! The roasted flavors in the meal really brought out the sweetness and caramel in the beer. That rough mineral edge at the beginning and the end smoothed out, making the beer taste creamier and fuller. It's also not too heavy, so we could eat and drink without feeling weighed down. This is definitely a fine choice of beer to serve with a weekday meal - try it with your winter braises and roasts.
Have you tried Leinenkugel's 1888 Bock? What do you think of it?