Beer Sherpa Recommends: Bayern Doppelbock
Imagine you were looking out over the 4pm darkening sky as the wind rattled bare tree branches together like dry bones. The cold seeps through the window, creating a pocket of chill around you that won't dissipate until May. What you want is something hearty, smooth, and comforting. There are many ways to chase the damp and dark from your spirits, but none surpasses a mug of doppelbock for pure warming potential.
Now, suppose further that you wanted the kind of doppelbock they drink in Bavaria, in cozy, low-ceilinged pubs. You could pick up an import, but I would like to direct your hand instead to that six-pack of Bayern. Not only is it the best domestic doppelbock I've ever tasted, it may be the best Bavarian one, too.
How can this be? Jürgen Knöller. He is the expat masterbrewer at Bayern, and he's been making this doppelbock in the US for exactly 29 years. And he makes it the way he learned how to brew in Bavaria, which is to say in a way they no longer brew. This is one of my favorite quotes of all time, when Jürgen described to me this strange quirk. It is long, elliptical, and amusing, which seems to be typical for Jürgen. Therefore I'm giving you the whole thing.
After all of this, it hardly matters what I say about the beer, does it? You'll want to try it just because the backstory is so interesting. And you should. For my part, I will add that it makes the Sherpa list not because of the story, but the beer. Good doppelbocks are the rare beer that everyone understands. Novices and experts alike can immediately appreciate them. The flavors are accessible and clear: rich, familiar maltiness shot through with the flavors of bread, caramel, and the barest hint of chocolate. The richness is held in balance by the smoothest, lightest finish you'll ever find in a beer this strong. It's an impossible beer to dislike, and so, so easy to love.