Tag Archives: doppelbock

Nørrebro Påske Bock


If you live in Toronto and like good beer, you’ve likely heard about little shindig happening on Wednesday night this week: In the tradition of previous brewmaster’s dinners like last year’s Dogfish Head event and 2007’s Brooklyn happening, beerbistro along with import agents Roland + Russell are presenting a Danish Beer Dinner, featuring the beers of Mikkeller and Nørrebro Bryghus, and a talk by Nørrebro brewmaster Anders Kissmeyer.

To give me an advance taste of what the event has in store, R+R slipped me a bottle of Nørrebro PÃ¥ske Bock a few weeks ago, and I finally got around to cracking it open last Friday when I had a couple of friends over for a beer tasting. It was Good Friday, in fact, which was very fitting as the brewery describes this doppelbock  as being “brewed according to the original bock tradition, which used to be the point of origin for Danish Easter brews.”

Here’s the thing, though: While I really like well-made doppelbock s, I also find it hard to say much about them. My tasting notes usually end up being quite short and consisting of some combination of  “dark brown”, “malty”, “roasty”, “dark fruit”, “medium bodied”, “balanced” and “tasty”. Which is pretty much what happened with this one. We all enjoyed it, and agreed that we could easily drink a couple, but didn’t have anything overly descriptive or profound to say about it.

I also imagine that I won’t be saying anything descriptive or profound by the end of tomorrow’s feast, as the 8 courses of food and beer pairings will likely leave me too full and drunk to say much more than a few incoherent grunts and mumbles. Good thing I’ve got Thursday booked off work…

If the dinners mentioned above are any indication, this will be one of Toronto’s top beer events of the year. For those who don’t have tickets yet, there may be a few spots left – call 416.861.9872 to check. You’ll hate yourself for missing it. Seriously.

PS: Forgot to mention how much I love the Nørrebro Bryghus labels. They’ve got that minimal and consistant look that I love. Can’t wait to see a few of them lined up together tomorrow night.

The Session #11: Doppelbocks

session-logo-med.jpgIn case it hasn’t been made obvious by my tendency to post event reviews and other things kinda late at times, I can be a bit of a procrastinator. I’m especially prone to putting things off when I need to write about something that I’m not overly familiar with.

Hence, my day-late post for this month’s Session, which was given the theme of doppelbocks by host Jay Wilson at Brewvana. Having had very few examples of the doppelbock style over the years, I don’t have the same memory and impression of them as I do for most other styles. Mention stout or witbier or IPA, and I can instantly see and smell and taste them in my mind. Mention doppelbock, and… well, I just remember the following:

  1. They’re strong and malty lagers.
  2. Most of them have names that end with ‘-ator’ in honour of the original doppelbock, the monk-brewed Salvator. (Hey, that would make “Procrastinator” a great name for a doppelbock! Someone should get on that. Oh, wait… never mind.)

One thing I do know from my stats on RateBeer is that I seem to really like doppelbocks when I have them. Of the eighteen I’ve tried, I’ve rated fifteen of ’em 3.5 or higher out of 5, which is quite a high proportion.

Salvator was, fittingly enough, the first doppelbock I tried. It was back in December, 2002 when the LCBO brought it in as a seasonal release. They’ve since added it to their general list, so I’m sure I’ve had it a few times since then, but I honestly have no recollection of what it’s like aside from the vague “strong and malty” descriptor. I planned to pick up a bottle to refresh my memory for this Session, but it’s currently out of stock at all of my local LCBOs, so I’ll have to go by the notes from my original tasting, which aren’t especially helpful:

Dark copper-amber with a frothy head that disappears quickly. Aroma of sweet malt and dark caramel. Initial sweet flavour gives way to bitter dirt and warm alcohol. The booziness becomes more prominent as the beer warms up. Not entirely unpleasant, but not ass-kicking either.

Another notable doppelbock is Ayinger Celebrator, which is the highest rated in the style and the #60 beer overall on RateBeer. I tried it back in November, 2005, when it was in the RB Top 50, and like Salvator, I don’t really remember it. But based on my notes, I didn’t seem to think quite as highly of it as most:

Dark ruby-brown with a small tan head. Aroma is rich and quite malty, with some dark fruit notes (especially grape). Body is pleasant, wth a mellow mouthfeel. Flavour is toasty and moderately bitter – nice, but seemed rather simple. Definitely a very good beer, but I find it hard to think of it as being worthy of the Top 50.

The one doppelbock that I do recall pretty clearly Fish Tale Detonator, which I shared with one of my tasting buddies just last week. It struck us both as a pretty unique take on the style, and one that we both enjoyed greatly, as my notes suggest:

Deep ruby-brown colour with a small tan head. Aroma is fantastic – sweet and roasty malt and big, herbal hops. Medium bodied. Flavour follows on the aroma – delicious maltiness up front, followed by a really nice hit of hops that linger through the dry finish. Reading the other ratings below, I feel like we got an extra-hopped bottle or something, as the hops were really out in front. No complaints, though, as it made this beer stand out. Nice!

So, there ya go. Not the most informative post I’ve written, but again, doppelbocks just don’t seem to resonate with me despite my apparent enjoyment of them. I’ll have to check the Session round-up to see of some of the other folks had more illuminating, in-depth thoughts to share.

At least it gave me a chance to use that Procrastinator joke.