Written by Jeff Barber
I had the opportunity to join the Beer Geek last Saturday for a visit to Rubicon Brewing in Sacramento for their annual Maibock Festival. Although not as many choices were available as last fall's IPA Festival and there were some bocks and doppelbocks mixed in, there were some very good beers to enjoy. The Beer Geek, having lived in Germany for several years, is very familiar with how a true Maibock should taste so tasting these beers with him made it even more enjoyable.
5 oz tastes of each beer could be tasted for $1.25 each and there were 8 beers available to try. After organizing our plan of attack, we moved quickly on to our Maibock adventure!
First off, was the Sierra Nevada Pale Bock. Not truly a Maibock, this beer had a lingering hop taste as well as sweetness and a slight alcohol burn. Thin for a bock, it was enjoyable but not a favorite. Next we tried the Mendocino Bock. Again not a Maibock but this beer had sweetness up front with some noticeable hop presence that didn’t linger. We also noticed a slight fruitiness as well. Very tasty.
Our third beer was also our first Maibock. Schooner Maibock, out of Antioch, CA, had a peppery character to it and was a little hoppier and had a little too much alcohol taste for a classic Maibock. Decent but not great. Following this was the Sudwerks Maibock from Davis, CA. Sudwerks has a reputation of doing German beer styles very well and their Maibock was no exception. Sweetness up front, only moderately hopped to balance the sweetness, this was a very good Maibock. True to style. Following Sudwerks, we tried the Great Basin Rock Maibock from Reno, NV. This was a little on the thin side but still tasty. It had a little less sweetness than the others and was slightly bitter in the finish. A little on the dry side too. After the Great Basin we moved on to Rubicon's Purple Maibock.This was sweet up front and slightly bitter in the finish. It was very creamy and the 6.8% ABV was well hidden. A fruity note was tasted as well. This was very good.
That was it for the Maibocks but two beers remained. The next beer we tried was the Anchor Brewing Bock. Dark in color with a burnt caramel aroma and a strong caramel taste, this was an excellent beer. Very enjoyable. Our final beer was the Weihenstephaner Doppelbock from Germany. This had a great caramel malt aroma and a tangy, tart taste from the yeast. Slightly bitter in the finish, there was some great lacing that lingered on the glass as we savored this classic beer.
All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed this event and look forward to it again next year. Rating the Maibocks only, by top beers were Rubicon and Sudwerks. If I rated all the beers together, I'd have to go with Weihenstephaner, Anchor, Rubicon, Sudwerks, and Mendocino.