Bock Fest 2011

Beer Festival Los Angeles

Bock Fest 2011 provided pint glasses to fill with bocks galore.

Bock beers are a classic German style that covers a wide variety. You can have a dopple or double, you can have a higher alcohol Eisbock or, to fit in with the beautiful Los Angeles weather, you can have a springtime Maibock. Now that the beer lesson is over, let’s talk about…

Bock Fest 2011 is the brainchild of Alan Semsar and took place at the Olympic Collection on January 15. This was the place to try a wide sampling of German and Austrian beers from noted breweries like Innstadt and Aktien as well as local California favorites such as Anchor and Hangar. Adam Bell, one of the judges for the event, noted the multi-culturalism by pointing out a dirndl-wearing Brazilian serving up Japanese Asahi beer.

I sampled an Aktien bier called Tanzelfest which was so German that it shocked my palate, which is so accustomed to strong IPA’s and powerful Belgian ales. I also tasted the Anchor Bock which was delicious and can be found at local BevMo’s. It is a great beer to have with a bold beef stew or a minestrone soup.

Another judge was Rich Marcello from Strand Brewing, who brews the wonderful Atticus IPA. He commented on the wide selection of beers not normally seen around town and that these were hearty brews that didn’t announce to your palate that they were strong.

Though they had a wonderful group of beers (and the very cool service of etching your name into your pint glass), the event seemed to downplay the name. The beers seemed to get short shrift in favor of the center aisle silent auction of sports and movie items and to a DJ who made discussing the beer or your ride on the 405 much harder.

Most of the beer was against the back wall. This made navigating to the beer harder and clumped most of the people on one side of the room. All in all, the space was cluttered by so much non-beer related booths that I wondered if they thought that beer alone or even bock beer alone would not command people’s attention. The most egregious error was that the beer wasn’t properly chilled before serving. I don’t normally harp on that aspect because some people overweigh the effect but these beers can become real heavy without a little chill to them.

I heartily endorse the idea of having a bock festival each year and with some tweaks this could be that event. First, put the beer front and center and cut away the non-beer related products. Secondly, give some education about the history of Einbeck where the beer originated. Thirdly, I would put each bock style together to facilitate finding a favorite in each style and a favorite style altogether. Lastly, this event had a charity attached to it, the Children’s Tumor Foundation. But the website does not talk about it and I did not see evidence of it at the event either. That strikes me as odd. When you walk in the door you should see the beer and also be made aware of how your admission dollars are helping others. The popular vote getter of the day was Redland’s Hangar 24 Brewery.

The beer of the week should be cellared and saved. Gordon from Oskar Blues in Lyons, Colorado, is a strong double IPA, typical of the strong and flavorful brews produced by the brewery. They are renaming it because of legal issues that seem rather trivial to me. The new name will be G’Knight. Pick up the old cans before they go away. It may become a collectible someday.

Your homework this week is to try out a beer tasting. I have harped on it before and I will harp on it in the future. Vendome in Toluca Lake has an excellent tasting each Saturday (which you can find in the Beer Blast) and you can also head into the dark cellar of 55 Degrees in Atwater and try their weekly tasting. This week, they are focusing on The Bruery.

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.

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Sean Inman

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.

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Food GPS » Bock Fest 2011…

Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

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