3/21/24: Yuengling Bock Beer

6:32 AM

Have I really never talked about Yuengling on the blog? Hold on--let me do a quick check. Okay, yeah, that's wild. I guess I've really never done up a Yuengling beer before. Well, I get to correct that today.

A can of Bock Beer

You may recall how, last March, I bemoaned the fact that there were just a few bocks on the market. This year's different. I'm sure Yuengling's released their Bock Beer in prior years but I've never seen it before 2024. But, now that I have it in hand, let's see how America's Oldest Brewery treats this classic and beloved German style lager.

Yuengling's history starts in 1829 as Pottsville, PA's Eagle Brewery. I wasn't until 1873 when it officially donned the moniker "D.G. Yuengling & Son," which we still know it as today. They weathered Prohibition with near-beer and dairy products. Today, the brewery's owned by the fifth generation of American Yuenglings (with the sixth all working there). Their beers are found on shelves in over half of US states.

Bock Beer (which, according to the brewery's "Our History" page was only introduced in 2009, so I was right earlier!) is only available in nine of Yuengling's twenty-six-state distribution range. Lucky for me (and the blog), Ohio's one of those nine. The lager rings in at 5.3% ABV and is touted as having a "...rich, flavorful, malt forward taste..." and "...a  a smooth, rich, and complex profile and mouthfeel."

The lager definitely has a malty nose; it's caramel, toffee, biscuits, a little wheat, and some graham cracker. There's not much of a malt presence in the bouquet, which is fine for the style. There's a little earthiness lurking beneath the malt, but that's about it.

Purrl, who's recovering well and is now properly medicated for her cat-xiety, gave my can seven whiffs, meaning she finds it as pleasant as I do (trust us, Bock Beer has a plenty pleasant nose).

Purrl cat sniffing my beer.

Surprisingly, the flavor profile's not as cut-and-dry as the bouquet. Sure, it's malty (both in the fore and the finish), with plenty of honey, toffee, and caramel, but there's also some rice lingering long in the middle, mixed with a corn-like flavor. I'm also picking up on flavor like paper. The malty sweetness (pleasing in the fore) becomes almost like an artificial apple sweetener in the finish. Unfortunately, the lager doesn't taste as good as it smells. EDIT: The more I drink, the less off-putting the finish becomes. Now (doubling back from the end of the review), I'm just finding rich caramel here.

The mouthfeel here's as complex as Yuengling bills it to be, so I have to hand it to them on that. It starts crisp and smooth drinking but, as the swig develops, it bolsters itself, growing to something frothy and heavy. 

This is the kind of beer you want after a brisk spring hike. You're out in the woods for some time, being at turns warm and chilly as you venture between the sun and the shade of the trees, the wind whipping about you as the world wakes up under your feet. You come home, pull a can out of your fridge, and crack into it, enjoying this classic spring style on a beautiful spring day.

I have to say, I didn't know what rating to give Yuengling's Bock Beer. At first, it was looking like it'd be a 6.5 or 7/10. Now that the flavor's settling, I'm going a little higher. The beer gets an 8.0/10. Not a favorite, but enjoyable and absolutely something I'd drink again.

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