The Story of Bock: Winter Beer


Some winters are harder than others, they can be cold, snowy, cloudy, long or any combination of these factors. Living in Minnesota we never know what kind of winter to plan for, but thanks to German roots in parts of the state, we have a coping mechanism, Bock. Bach? No, not music. Bock, a variety of beer that was traditionally brewed in the late fall and was ready to drink in middle to late winter. The historical symbol of Bock is the goat, which symbolizes the stubbornness of winter. When the Bock is ready, we’re reminded that winter can’t last forever.

One doesn’t have to drink beer to enjoy the significance of the Bock season. A warm, hearty bread made with Bock and flavored with onion and bacon is a great way to stave off a stubborn winter. Pair it with homemade soup or a creamy spinach and artichoke dip and one can start to feel the snow melting outside.

Thanks to the microbrew revolution of the ’90s, Bock shouldn’t be too hard to find. Our preference is either Schell’s (the country’s second oldest family owned brewery) or Fitger’s, but you will probably have to find one produced by the regional brewery of your choice or carried in a well-stocked liquor shop. So take a step towards spring, bake up a batch of bread and shake your tiny little fists at winter.

Here are a few other bocks to look for:
Shiner Bock
Sam Adams Double Bock

photo by Travis Isaacs

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