Doppelbock, one of Germany’s booziest Bock beers, was created by Bavarian monks to sustain them during the long Lenten fasts. A dark, full-bodied brew, it also exhibits a robust sweetness owed to loads of malt. Bocks were historically released in March to signal the coming of spring, a tradition that will continue March 7–9 at Bockfest Cincinnati in OTR, the nation’s oldest bock beer festival. Get in shape by sampling these sterling examples of the form.
Mt. Carmel Brewing Company Maple Doppelbock
This was the first lager for the eight-year-old east side brewery and is a riff on the classic style. To amp up the malt’s sappy sweetness, maple syrup from Cincinnati Nature Center trees was added to the mix.
Available at Mt. Carmel Brewing Company, 4362 Mt. Carmel-Tobasco Rd.,Anderson Township, (513) 240-2739
Christian Moerlein Emancipator Doppelbock
In 2008, Christian Moerlein celebrated the 75th anniversary of Prohibition’s end by reviving (and rebranding) its limited edition bocks, including this mild, toffee-tinged lager. It nabbed a silver medal at last year’s Great American Beer Festival—the only winner among locally owned breweries.
Available at Christian Moerlein Brewing Company, 1621 Moore St.,Over-the-Rhine, (513) 827-6025
Anchor Bock Beer
At 5.5 percent ABV (alcohol by volume), it’s a little light-weight to be a full-blown Doppel, but Anchor’s creamy Bock still boasts big flavor: dark chocolate and toasted grain at first sip, and caramel as it slowly warms.
Available at The Party Source, 95 Riviera Dr., Bellevue, (859) 291-4007
Triple Digit Gravitator Double Bock
At 10.5 percent ABV, the alcohol could easily overpower the complexity, but this local version stands on its own with natural cola, chocolate-dipped fig flavors, and a clean, dry finish.
Available at Listermann Brewing Company, 1621 Dana Ave., Evanston, (513) 731-1130
Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock
A monk’s recipe is responsible for this textbook Doppelbock imported from Germany and available year-round. Deep mahogany in color, it’s the drinkable equivalent of Boston brown bread.
Available at The Root Cellar, 7699 Montgomery Rd., Kenwood, (513) 984-4111
Originally published in the March 2014 issue.
Photographs by Anna Jones/OMS