The origins and development of the style “bock” began not in Munich but in Northern Germany in a town called Einbeck in Lower Saxony. Einbeck joined a group of cities known as the Hanseatic League. Together they controlled most trade inside present day Germany and between that area and other countries during the Middle Ages. The chief exports being beer, wine and linen. At its height, brewing was the primary economic activity of Einbeck, and the mayor was the chief brewer.
They were famous for the development of the Bock beer. A bock beer is stronger-than-average beer, generally amber in colour (although pale versions do also exist) and traditionally drunk in Spring (which is why it is sometimes referred to as Maibock). Their success spanned at least three centuries, but Einbeck was not destined to remain a permanent fixture in the world of brewing as it was ravaged by fire during the 16th century and during the Thirty Years’ War which is said to have ended the brewing trade in Einbeck.
This ultimately led to the Munich Transformation, where Munich brewers “bent all their energy to brewing a beer as good as that of Einbeck.” This led to a version which was sweeter in balance and was enjoyed by the citizens of Munich which soon replaced the original, as a result of the war.
Bock means goat in German, and it’s not surprising that someone drinking this beer would feel a “kick” and make a verbal connection forming a strong association between bock beers and goats.
Here at GodsOwn Brewery we have embarked on a Kiwi Transformation of this style of beer; year one, keeping with the sweeter balance of barley malts of Munich but utilising NZ variety noble hops, namely Pacifica and Wakatu. Year two …. We will let you know
We found this historical record of the character of this beer:
“This delicious, palatable, subtle, extremely sound and wholesome beer, wherewith a man, when partaken of in moderation, may save his health and his sound senses, and yet feel jolly and stimulated” quoted by J. Letzner from his Chronicle, on the beer of Einbeck.
We sincerely hope we live up to this expectation laid forth by the good man Letzy? By producing our first release of a golden clear “Springbock”. With a big white head delivering a full-bodied and sweet but nicely balanced and clean taste. Exploding with aromatic malts and flowery kiwi hop flavours, reminiscent of honey-melon fruitiness.
Grain Bill: Pilsner Malt, Munich Malt, Dark Munich Malt, Cara-hell and Belgian Aromatic Malt
Hop Bill: Pacifica and Wakatu
Yeast: Wyeast Munich Lager
OG: 1.072 FG: 1.022 IBU: 32 ABV: 6.6%
The Vienna style of beer suffered during the early twentieth century due to war, prohibition and economic depression which affected all brewers and virtually eliminated the classic Vienna style from commercial production.
As a result Vienna Lager was on the decline, but the Marzen style appeared to be on the rise and brewers both from Vienna and Munich started producing beers called Marzen. Many Munich and Bavarian breweries can trace their roots back several centuries, with the strongest influence on this style been accredited to Gabriel Sedlmayr, based on an adaptation of the Vienna style.
Today the styles of Vienna, Marzen and Oktoberfest beers are known as the VMO category, whereby the Marzen and Oktoberfest style beers are terms frequently used together. These two German words contain the names of two months, namely March and October.
The Oktoberfest celebration originated in 1810 not as a beer festival but as a wedding celebration for the Crown Prince of Bavaria. The term “Oktoberfest” has evolved as the name applied to special beers brewed for that celebration. Whereas the origins of Oktoberfest can be traced to a specific year, the word “Marzen” has been used to describe some beers for hundreds of years.
Before the advent of refrigeration, it was not possible to brew successfully in the summer months, when spring began to arrive, brewing would cease until autumn, when cooler temperatures returned whilst been stored in cool cellars or caves. Over the summer months, beers that had been made in the cool months of the year were consumed. As a result of these efforts, the last beers brewed each Spring took on special identity, and they were named Marzen or March beers, after the month in which most were brewed.
Here at GodsOwn we too follow this tradition by brewing and cellaring our Marzen during winter; ready for spring and summer for consuming this smooth, clean and creamy bodied rich German lager with initial sweet but soft maltiness, finishing dry with moderate hop flavour.
Grain Bill: Pilsner Malt, Vienna Malt, Munich Malt and Cara-Munich Malt Type II&III
Hop Bill: Northern Brewer, Magnum, Tettnang and Hallertau Herbrucker
Yeast: Wyeast Oktoberfest Lager
OG: 1.052 FG: 1.011 IBU: 27 ABV: 5.5%