Monday, 8 September 2008

Two Schmucker Bocks

I mentioned a pair of Schmucker Bocks in a previous post, so I thought I'd give them a proper go and give some sort of impression of what they taste like, to me at least.

But before I do that, I'll cast my mind back to August 2007 when me, my new wife, and our son, went on a kind of honeymoon. We had thought about all sorts of exotic stuff, but when it came down to it it was easier to just rent a nice car and go stay in small little places in an area close to where my wife is from and which she likes alot; The Odenwald. I have to admit I have a soft spot for this area, as it just feels nice, with rolling hills, nice forest walks, little villages and farms dotted about the place and a general feeling of being away from it all. However I do know someone who worked there picking cherries as a student, and it might not have been so idyllic. Anyway, while we were roaming the area we passed through a dot on the map called Mossautal several times, and each time my face was stuck to the passenger window as we passed the Schmucker Brewery.

In fact, I had tried to book us into the small hotel attached to the brewery, but it wasn't to be. Be that as it may, we at least went there for lunch one day and I sampled a few of their beers. I remember the Schwarzbier not being Schwarz at all, but found this seemed to be the case for the area in general, so I just lived with it. The bar itself seemed nice enough, but we had sat out in the beer garden where our son could mingle with the other guests. I would have loved to stay and try everything I could (they seem to have about twelve beers), but time was against me so I sunk down three or so beers before slinking away. To my shame I can't remember what they were like, but they clearly weren't so horrible that they left an indelible mark on my mind

While there however, I had noted this Rosé Bock thingy, as it sounded interesting at least. So when I bought a few bottles the other week for the Father-in-Laws birthday bash I thought I was in for a treat. When I tried the Rosé and the Doppel Bock at Günter's party, it was on day two of the celebrations at about midnight, and I guess I wasn't exactly thinking about taste then, but they felt heavy! So to do them justice I thought I'd wait for a quiet time... Which is now!

The Schmucker Rosé Bock isn't exactly Rosé, but it does have a rather nice copper-red tone that could be a bit pinkish if you closed your eyes and wished really hard (there's no place like home, and Toto too). There's a kind of dried fruit aroma; that's dried fruit soaked in alcohol, which seemed reasonable given it's 8% ABV. It has a sweet and sticky feeling to it with a definite warmth down the throat, but I found it very one-dimensional. I tried to find some depth to it, but only got burnt undertones and a slightly woody flavour. I found it a bit like licking a pine table, a varnished one at that! Not the nicest Bock, but then I'm at the tail end of a cold, so I might have to give it a go again.

As I type I'm finishing off a Schmucker Doppel-Bock Dunkel, and it's very different. A deep, dark ruby-tinged brown, this has a more refined aroma that to me just says plum jam ladled on top of lumps of toffee and malt. Flavourwise it is a little jammy too with a faint earthy spiciness that is quite pleasent. It doesn't taste or feel like 8% and is very drinkable! The mouthfeel isn't exactly full, but the finish lingers as a sweet coating on the tongue with a slightly peppery warmth. This isn't very complex, but it's a nice beer with simple pleasures. I think I could have another, but I have to get up in the morning!

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