Tomorrow is Saint Patrick’s Day, a day that a lot of Americans will use as an excuse to drink adjunct lagers that have been dyed green (just like they do in Ireland?) If you must celebrate a holiday that properly celebrates merriment and the consumption of alcohol, please follow the German tradition. Don’t add fake color to beer, brew beer specific to the holiday, and make it last a couple of weeks.
If I had to celebrate a saint, make it Saint Arnold, the patron saint of brewers, and namesake to Houston’s own craft brewery. Today, in my favorite saint's celebration, I have decided to crack open a couple of bottles of Saint Arnold’s Spring Bock.
As the beer decants from a bottle with a label adorned with Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes, flowers that mark the coming of spring in the Texas landscape, the beverage exhibits a pretty, amber hue with amazing clarity. A slight off-white head forms with the width of a dime as the CO2 action from the pour dies down.
With a bready, malt forward nose, intertwined with the aroma of light, floral hops, I take an aggressive first gulp. My palate is rewarded with a wet, full bodied, full flavored, malt experience. With its nice, rounded, caramel body, there is a very subtle floral backend that is just enough to keep the sweetness from being cloying, keeping the beverage very drinkable throughout the three bottles I enjoyed this afternoon.
In Texas, you can’t really drink and talk about a bock style beer without mentioning the 300-pound armadillo in the room, Shiner Bock.
Since I was of drinking age, my older brother always lamented on how Shiner was not as good as it was after they became part of the Gambrinus Company. (A quick side note, Gambrinus is referenced as the name of an “unofficial” saint of beer and beer brewing while Saint Arnold is the patron saint of Hop Pickers and Belgian brewers.)
My brother, who gets my respect as a malt head, tells me this is what Shiner “used to be like,” and will do just about anything short of papalcide (the murder of the Pope) to get his lips on this beer.
While I lean more towards being hop obsessed, I can see how this well-balanced, refreshing bock can generate excitement in its fans.