This week the honor goes to Brauerei Aying’s Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock. Celebrator has a dark mahogany color with a fair amount of room for ruby to peer through in more narrow parts of the glass. A dark copper color sneaks into the very edge of the glass. A very smooth aroma with components that work well together. Soft sweet molasses, some dates and spicy, herbal hoppy notes. Sweet bready notes round things out. Chewy caramel malt flavor starts out the flavor, followed with a touch of molasses, then some spiced bread as the body fills out. Some dates step in before a touch of herbal bitterness sets in for a second. The end of the sip approaches, telling the grain and sweetness to wrap up the show in a polite fashion. Finishes clean and a touch sweet. Creamy, medium bodied. Phenomenal. Four packs are available at Whole Foods and most specialty craft beer stores Should run about $12 and as a bonus you get a plastic billy-goat** on a red string keepsake.
**The style known now as bock was a dark, malty, lightly hopped ale first brewed in the 14th century by German brewers in the Hanseatic town of Einbeck. The style from Einbeck was later adopted by Munich brewers in the 17th century and adapted to the new lager style of brewing. Due to their Bavarian accent, citizens of Munich pronounced “Einbeck” as “ein Bock” (“a billy goat”), and thus the beer became known as “bock”. To this day, as a visual pun, a goat often appears on bock labels. Bock is historically associated with special occasions, often religious festivals such as Christmas, Easter or Lent. Bocks have a long history of being brewed and consumed by Bavarian monks as a source of nutrition during times of fasting. Doppelbock is a “double bock.”