Einbeck: Bock - the WA take.
In our previous installment of “the Road to Munich, we packed up, headed out, and made it to our second stop along the route to Oktoberfest. We arrived in the small city of Einbeck, about 300km to the south of Hanover. There, we explored the brewing history and traditions of the city, but took a closer look into the bock style and its many different substyles (If you have not yet read that post, you may do so here). We discussed how the bock rose in popularity, what sets it apart from most other beer styles on a taplist, and what’s next for the style and the folks brewing it.
For this installment, we will jump back over to Washington State to explore Bock, specifically Doppelbock, through the lens of Dystopian State Brewing of Tacoma, WA. A gold medal winner at the 2021 Washington Beer Awards, High Command Doppelbock is a familiar name on the tap list of the downtown Tacoma Brewery. We look into why Head Brewer, Chris Jones, continuously brews this particular beer (even during the summer months), how history and tradition plays its part in recipe development, and how he brews High Command to be something completely unique to their brewery .
Often hidden amongst the many IPAs or released as a one off seasonal, Doppelbock is not all that common to see on tap. We wanted to understand why Chris and the Dystopian State team decided to brew this bock substyle and feature the beer as a staple on their taplist. Simply put, doppelbock is a style well loved and appreciated by the Dystopian State team. It’s one of those beer styles that is easily forgotten about, and goes undervalued by beer drinkers in the United States. The brew team is keen on producing lagers, especially the malt forward ones, as they give good balance to the beers being offered. The High Command Doppelbock does just that.
Inspiration for High Command comes from a traditional and historical context when designing the recipe. In true Dystopian fashion, they wanted to push outward on those flavor boundaries to explore what key elements of a doppelbock can contribute to the overall experience when amplified to an extent. Namely the caramel and light cocoa flavors are ratched up, while still having a bready malty backbone – a key characteristic of a traditional doppelbock. The recipe is tweaked a bit to cater to their brewhouse setup as they are unable to do a traditional decoction mash, which for this beer style helps to bring out the strong melanoidin flavors (mild burned flavors, malty, toffee-like, bready, caramel, coffee, and roasty). Not to worry though, Dystopian found ways to work around this by utilizing some specialty malts from their favorite English malster Simpson’s. Usually you would find something like a caramunich malt rather than an English crystal malt in a classic doppelbock, but they wanted to push the caramel and cocoa notes to the forefront. Having won a gold medal for this beer shows you can change some things up and still make a true to style beer, and that’s all part of the fun of brewing, says Jones.
About Dystopian State Brewing
Dystopian State Brewing is a place for families and friends in the local community to gather and share the joy of great beer. As craft beer lovers themselves, they are committed to brewing unique and interesting beers and serving them in a cozy, welcoming taproom. They believe the best beer is made with simple, natural ingredients. The result is 18 different taps of bold, incredible flavor from the first sip to the last drop – there is something for everyone at Dystopian State.
About Dystopian’s High Command Doppelbock
Style: Doppelbock | ABV: 8.5% | IBU: 22 |
About the Road to Munich
Hop into your Bimmer and merge onto the Autobahn (rather your Subie and I-5 since we live in WA), and let BeerNav lead you on an educational beer journey to Oktoberfest
“The Road to Munich” is our new blog and social media series that will run monthly from May until the beginning of October. BeerNav will highlight six of the most influential, historical beer cities and beer styles across Germany, and how Washington Breweries are influenced by tradition but add their own unique twists to each beer style.