Helles Bock, Heller Bock, Frühlingsstarkier (spring strong beer)

Pronunciation guide for English-speakers:
"My Bock"

Maibock (literally: May Bock) is the Bavarians' strong, golden lager favored during the brief transation between the severe winters along the northern edge of the Alps, when people hunker down indoors, and the hot summers, when people flock to the beer gardens.

In much of Bavaria, including Munich, breweries produce different beers for the different seasons. Because Bavaria has a continental climate, the difference between summer and winter tends to be extreme. Correspendingly, the seasonal variations in Bavaria's brews are extremes, too...and no beer style follows the changing seasons more closely than the Bockbier, Munich's strong, malty lager. There is a Bockbier for every time of year, except summer, when the straw-blond Munich Helles becomes the signature beer garden brew.

The first Bockbier of fall makes its appearance towards the end of November, brewed with fresh new hops and malt from the new harvest. In Bavaria, this marks the beginning of Starkbierzeit (stong beer time), which means Bockbier season. While "normal" blond lagers have an alcohol-by-volume level of about 4.5 to 5%, the "mildest" Bockbiers start at around 6% alcohol and the strongest vrsions may have about 12% alcohol, which puts them on a par with wine. While most Bockbiers are dark-amber to hazelnut brown in color and exceedingly malt-accented, the Maibock is brewed entirely wih pale malts for a warm golden hue. It is also more agressively hopped than others bocks for a refreshing finish. Thus Maibock, like the lusty month of May, is a transitional a brew. It still has some 6 to 7% alcohol as do its wintry cousins, but its brightness and bitterness already foretell the perpetually blues skies of summerm when the straw-blond Helles and the pale and spritzy Weissbier predominate.

Related beer styles:
Doppelbock, Eisbock
, Weizenbock, Weizendoppelbock, Weizeneisbock






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