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Craft Beer Scene Around Rockford: Huber Bock, a Monroe, Wis., tradition

May 13, 2014
CRAFT-BEER-USE

By Michael Sears
President, Forest City Brewers

Greetings and welcome to Craft Beer Scene Around Rockford.

This week I would like to talk about the original and most traditional spring beer, Bock, and more specifically, Huber Bock of Minhas Brewery.

Bock was originally a dark, malty and lightly-hopped ale first brewed in the 14th century by German brewers in the town of Einbeck. The style from Einbeck was later adopted by Munich brewers in the 17th century and adapted to the lager style of brewing, which was relatively new to that time period. Because of their Bavarian accent, citizens of Munich pronounced Einbeck as “ein Bock” (translation: a billy goat), and that is how the beer became known as “bock”. A goat often appears on Bock labels to this day.

Historically, Bock is associated with special occasions and religious festivals such as Christmas, Easter or Lent (the latter as Lentenbock). Bocks have a long history of being brewed and consumed by Bavarian monks as a source of nutrition during times of fasting.

The Joseph Huber Brewing Company was founded in 1845 in Monroe, Wis. It was originally called The Blumer Brewery, but in 1947 adopted the Joseph Huber name. It is the oldest continually operating brewery in the Midwest and second oldest in the United States.

The brewery is now owned by the Minhas Craft Brewery. Huber Brewing Co. is no longer in business.

I poured this into one of my Sam Adams Perfect Pint glasses. It is a dark reddish copper with a tan head that is about a finger in depth and dissipates quickly to maybe a quarter inch, which is a bit disappointing as bocks are to have a little more robust head. Some small carbonation bubbles are present. The beer is quite clear despite the darker color.

The aroma, or nose, is toasted malt, earthy and nutty. There is some chocolate in the background, and unfortunately, some butterscotch aroma, which is called diacetyl. Diacetyl is a natural by-product of fermentation but should not be present in a Bock. Hmmm…

The taste is roasted malt, a slightly sourness and no hop presence. There is a hint of chocolate or caramel that adds a bit of sweetness but this should be at the front not at the end. Fortunately, the diacetyl was very low profile in the taste. Most of the flavors were gone by the time I finished the swallow. A bit of alcohol warming was present along with a chemical type flavor at the end.

The mouth feel is very thin almost watery. Bubbles have virtually disappeared. This is disappointing for this style.

Overall, this is a rather plain and uninspiring Bock. I used to enjoy Huber Bock but since they were purchased, I no longer enjoy this beer. The slight off-flavors are accentuated by the lack of appropriate flavors. A malt-dominant style like this ought to contain enough malt, which this clearly lacks. I would be more prone to use this to cook brats in rather than drink in the future.

Prost!Michael Sears is president of the Forest City Brewers. The Forest City Brewers is a homebrewing club dedicated to the art of finely crafted beer. The club meets the first Wednesday of each month at Thunder Bay Grille on East State Sreet. For more about Forest City Brewers, go to http://forestcitybrewers.org. If you have comments or recommendations, please contact Mike at rockfordcraftbeer@comcast.net.

From the May 14-20, 2014, issue

2 Comments

  1. David DeNale

    May 15, 2014 at 5:54 am

    Huber use to brew decent inexpensive beer. Nothing I have tried that has come out of Minhas is worth a damn. Funny, one of the best breweries in the world is just a few miles to their north.

    • Mike Sears

      May 16, 2014 at 7:49 am

      One of my favorite things was to go to Baumgartner’s Cheese Store & Tavern have a couple of Huber Bock’s a sandwich and maybe some of the worlds second best chili. Thankfully they have some nice beers including New Glarus (sometimes on tap!) so we can still make the trip.

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