Above is the Creemore urBock. As many will know, Creemore Springs is a pioneering craft brewery in Ontario that was purchased by Molson Coors a dozen years ago or so.
Bock is one of the brown lager class of beers,* of course so is Munich Dunkel. Some bock is blondish, Maibock, say, but at least in North America bock connotes the dark type to most. Schwarzbier, the black lager of eastern Germany, is yet another dark lager.
So far pilsener seems resolutely blonde, but having just read in Great Lakes Brewing News of an India Pale Kölsch, I don’t rule out a “line extension” in that area too.
Extending traditional styles seems the watchword of the day.
Sharp eyes will note the rather compressed and not entirely accurate story of bock beer on the back label. I’d prefer they get the story right, but the beer is the thing, so on to that.
Creemore ur-Bock hasn’t changed much over its history, which pretty much goes back to the brewery’s origins. It’s lightly malty, in a mocha coffee-like way, with a moderate bitterness. It is lighter than good German examples but all-malt and a credible interpretation.
I find it improves by being kept cold for a few months. When new, as for the other Creemore lagers, there seems a slightly raw fermentation note, perhaps DMS, or something else, I’m not sure. But kept cold for eight weeks or more the beer improves noticeably, imo.
It’s filtered but not too tightly as a light haze is evident if you pour it in one motion and leave an ounce in the can. The ounce is quite turbid with small particles of yeast or other flock.
This permits, I think, a further very slight fermentation, or “aging”. Assuming the residual yeast count is not high enough for that, still the beer gets better with cold-storage, I’m not sure why.
There aren’t that many of these original bocks in Ontario. Some are flavoured, or add a non-barley grain, or don’t have quite have the right taste. Beau in eastern Ontario has one in the stores now that is very credible, it makes an interesting A/B with Creemore ur-Bock.
Creemore’s could be a little more assertive in taste. It would nice to see a Doppel version, too, Molson Coors should do that. It should also make the ur-Bock available year round.
A seasonal release is a nice thing historically and sort of nostalgic, but today beer styles have lost the seasonal connections most once had. Spread the wealth.
I’ll stock up this week to put a few in the fridge, as before long none will be found at the LCBO or Beer Store outlets.
See a follow-up to this post, here.
*Weizenbock is brewed with wheat and a top-fermenting exception to the lager norm for bock.