The crowds were out for Bockfest at Capital Brewery on Saturday.
It had been a few years since I'd been and some things had changed. For one, the Blonde Doppelbock was available from the get-go whereas I'd swear that it wasn't tapped until after the Running of the Blondes in past years. Must have made logistical sense - the taps won't get bum rushed. I don't know about the last few years but an 80s cover band called Sixteen Candles performed instead of Pupy Costello & His Big City Honky Tonk. Two words: Lionel Richie. L-A-M-E.
Lastly, I didn't notice any chubs sailing through the air. I guess this is an invention of Kirby's that he took with him.
What hadn't changed was the tastiness of the beer. I was really thirsty when we arrived and made myself a radler with Supper Club and lemonade to start. Very refreshing on a relatively warm winter day. The Mindblock, er, Maibock was fantastic. Hearty yet not overly sweet. Malty but with a fine hop balance. The Blonde Doppelbock was also great. The alcohol is hidden well behind a velvety wall of fine malt flavor that is never cloying.
After a brief detour at the Village Green it was off to the Vintage where Scott kindly put up with two drunks. Square Pig should be on tap by Friday. It's a mish-mash brew that doesn't fit any round hole of a style. If memory serves, Scott kind of looked around the brewhouse and grabbed any and all ingredients that were in need of being transmogrified into beer. What I recall most vividly is the grapefruit aroma of the hops which weren't in the taste. Scott's Grätzer
is to return this summer. (I am trying to convince him to include willow bark
in this batch. Wish me luck.) My friend and I had Scott's alt and roggenbiers. I've already professed my love
for Tippy Toboggan but I'll say it again - that is one great beer. And the alt more than held its own. Loved it. My superhero power is apparently an ability to drink like a Düsseldorfer.
To move away from my drunken adventures, I noticed that Capital is profiled in the latest issue of Grain & Grape. I think I am finally convinced that the lagers aren't going anywhere. Having said this, the article notes that Mutiny IPA comes out on 1 April. On the other hand, a beer akin to a pre-Prohibition style lager will be coming out in bombers in May. (1900: The Next Generation?) Most exciting to my palate was the revelation that the summer seasonal will be a Munich Helles. Bavarian Lager rises from the ashes courtesy of a new recipe. I found myself in complete agreement with the author of the piece, George Zens, when he wrote that the retirement of Bavarian Lager "was one of the dumbest decisions taken by the previous management." Amen, brother.
Speaking of the helles, word is that Leines shall release Hoppin' Helles
this summer. Leines also seems determined to inundate the market with god-awful "shandies" that are better described as hard fruit punches. Orange Shandy is next. But there's also a couple new Big Eddy brews. Rye (Wheat) Wine hits the shelves in June while August brings Imperial Oktoberfest.
Over in the land of Mud Ducks, Schell is coming out with The Noble Star Collection, a series of brews "unique and innovative beers based on the Berliner Weisse style"
. They've imported brettanomyces from Berlin so they're not fucking around. Should be sehr interessant.