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Dec 28, 2010 10:04 AM

Any Opinions Re: Yuengling Bock

Any opinions regarding this season's Yuengling Bock?

Also, I'm looking for it in the Washington, DC metro area and having great difficulty tracking it down. The ususal suspects in DC (Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits) and Maryland (The Perfect Pour and Corridor Liquor) don't seem to have it.

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  1. Spring is the traditional season for US Bocks (tho' it suffered "season drift" several times over the decades, and came out as early as January in some cases).

    This year (2010) Yuengling released their bock in January, so you'd be better off waiting for 2011's batch.

    1. Yuengling's bock is (to me anyway) a fine example of the type of "American" bock that was popular with most American breweries in days gone by. It was a nice surprise finding it in bottles in 2010, and I'll certainly look forward to it in 2011. It perhaps doesn't have the depth of flavor that the old Pabst Bock had in the 60's and early 70's, but is still a well made and tasty brew.
      I don't buy an awful lot of commercial beer, but when it was "in season", I found myself fairly frequently choosing Yuengling Bock over the scores of 'craft' beers on the shelves.
      It's a winner, as far as I'm concerned.

      3 Replies
      1. re: The Professor

        I remember in the late '70s you could still find some of the big-brewery bocks, which I expect were little more than 'racking room' bocks (i.e., beer with caramel color added). But it was fun in any case.

        1. re: Jim Dorsch

          I'm sure that was the case with some of them.
          I knew someone at the Pabst plant in NJ, and up until around 1976 or so, their Bock was definitely a product that they took some care with, and which the brewmasters took some pride in. After that though, it did probably become what you aptly described as a "racking room" bock. I remember buying it after not seeing it around for a few years and it was definitely not the same beer.

          1. re: Jim Dorsch

            There was a story told by "someone on the internet" (so, you know...)who back in the early '80's, in the post-tour Yuengling bar, asked Dick, Sr. why they stopped brewing Yuengling Bock and would they bring it back (ended around the late '70's, IIRC, when it was still a pretty local product in deposit bottles only).

            Dick poured a careful blend of Premium and Porter, put it on the bar and said something to the effect of "There's Yuengling Bock." (Since they were one of the last brewers with a porter, they didn't have to resort to adding "porterine" or some other coloring agent.)

            The "new" Bock, however, coming in the midst of the craft beer era in the US, wasn't just a blend of those two beers, of course. It was a blend of Lord Chesterfield Ale and Porter, with an addition of some dry-hopping. At least that's how it was described in one article that was supposedly a quote from a Yuengling official (identified as a "brewer" but actually their Florida brewery's plant manager). Other interviews with him and the brewers only mention "recipes". Of course, "add LCA, add Porter, add hops" is a recipe...

            Some of those pre-craft era bocks used to advertise that they were "true bock formulas" and such, implying that the "other" bocks weren't. Rheingold had their bock formula "approved" by a German brewing institute as "authentic", etc. Similarly, many of the last ales used to advertise they were "true ales", implying that some of their competitors were selling "bastard ales" (brewed with lager yeast, simply fermented at higher temps). I've also seen ads for US porters that proclaim they used no "Porterine". Conversely, I've also seen an ad for a small CA brewer's bock that stated (refreshingly):
            "It is made by adding a brown sugar syrup caramel to the regular beer."

            Pretty sure that Maytag's mentioned that "Anchor Dark" was simply carmel- colored regular Anchor when he bought the brewery. Also, a well-known brewer (I think it was NE PA/Philadelphia area's Charles E. Lieberman) tells a story about working in a racking room in a post-Repeal small PA brewery as a young man, and the brewmaster got a complaint that their Dark or Bock Beer wasn't a dark as it used to be. He came down to the racking room and told the workers, "Start putting a cup and a HALF of caramel-coloring in the kegs of Bock Beer."