Friday, April 20, 2012

Beer of the Week (Vol. CXLIII)

Another edition of Beer of the Week sponsored as always by the outdoorsy folks at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits who can you help find the wine, whiskey, and beer to enjoy the wonders of nature. Stop by and ask about their Earth Day specials.

Our beer of the week comes the state that bills itself as “the last frontier.” It is Alaskan Brewing Company’s Alaskan Birch Bock

Alaskan Birch Bock is a Doppelbock-style ale brewed with Alaska birch syrup. Adapted by Munich brewers from a 14th century ale recipe from the town of “Einbeck,” the bock style traditionally features a toasted malt flavor, low hop bitterness and lager-like dryness in the palate. Doppelbocks are a bigger and slightly sweeter version of the style.

Birch Bock is part of their special “pilot series” of beers which are available on a limited basis.

22oz brown bottle that sells for $9.99. Woodsy label with a moose in a thicket of birch trees. As usual Alaskan also provides the background on the label:

The Alaska paper birch, with its narrow, white trunk and light green foliage is a valued species for moose and man alike in the boreal forests of Alaska’s interior. The Alaska moose feeds on the resilient and papery bark to survive the harsh, 60-below winters while Native Alaskans prized this water-resistant bark to cover the exterior of their hunting canoes. Birch trees produce abundant sap in April and May, 80 gallons of which can be boiled down to one gallon of thick, molasses flavored birch syrup, used to flavor this uniquely Alaskan brew.

STYLE: Doppelbock.


COLOR (0-2): Copper brown and clouded. 2

AROMA (0-2): Sweet malt, slightly sour, with a hint of spice. 2

HEAD (0-2): Tan color. Moderate volume that settles quickly. Not much lacing at all. 1

TASTE (0-5): Mostly bready malts with a lot of sweetness and a light hop bite at the finish. You can pick up a bit of the sugary syrup, but it’s not a particularly distinct flavor. Caramel and spice flavors as well. Tastes pretty much like a standard doppelbock and the heat is apparent. Medium body with a thin mouthfeel. 3

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Sweetness lingers. 2

OVERALL (0-6): While I’m not all that much of a fan of doppelbocks, this is a solid example of the style. I was a little disappointed that the birch syrup wasn’t more noticeable. It is a very sweet beer, but that seems to come more from the malt than the syrup. Birch Bock is a good choice for a spring beer, however the price is a bit steep for what you get. 4

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 14