Note: this is an archive edition from The Professor, featuring some of the best from PGA.
Written by Ken Carman
Without intent, I have collected well over 1,000 beer bottles since the early 70s. When something finally had to be done about the cheap paneling in this old modular, I had a choice. Tear down the walls while, oh, so carefully, replacing the often rotted 1X3s. Or: cover them with… The Bottle Collection.
My first experience with true dark beer was in Montreal; a little second story Irish pub called Finnegans; probably named after the Irish song most notably made famous by Tom Makem and the Clancy Brothers before they broke up and followed another cliche’d Irish tradition… had a brawl over the rights to songs that in many cases were odes to drunkenness. Common guys, great way to confirm our often wrong preconceived notions about certain heritages.
That was Guinness Foreign Export.
But I was headed that way already. You see: I thought I hated beer. Pretty much all that was available at the timm in Upstate was the lighter fare: lager clones of Bud, or Bud itself. Same style, ever so slight variations. Even Cream Ale… as in Genny Cream for example, while being an ale, is a stylistic attempt to create a more lager-like beverage out of an ale yeast.
I didn’t know at the time that not all Bocks were dark. That’s just all that was sold locally. Never heard of Blonde Bock back then; or Eisbock, or Doppelbock. But Bock; even the only Bock we could buy in the early 70s, while still a lager, has a bit of a more complex malt bill hiding a sulfur-like lager yeast tang that annoys me. It also seems to limit the DMS taste that’s a bit like drinking water out of a can of unsweetened/”low sodium” corn. In almost every other style it’s called a defect at the high levels that especially corn-adjunct brewed lagers have. Rice is problematic too, in my opinion. Body suffers where there was little body to begin with. Make it thinner? Oh boy. Like going out of your way to make Twiggy-like creatures seem voluptuous.
While I drank a lot of these back when we were closer to the days of Marilyn Monroe than Marilyn Manson, I’m not sure they were real Bocks. I suspect these days I’d be repelled because what was available in Upstate NY was probably more food coloring-driven than a beverage brewed with a more complex, malt bill. But at the time it actually made beer worth drinking as long as “other” was occasionally available too. Previous to that I spent more time in a place I never visit anymore: mixed drink land.
Bocks that I remember were available to mid-Upstaters at the time include…
Continue reading “From the Bottle Collection: Bock to the 70s”