Bar Trek: The Search For Bock

Beer is a little-known but indispensable part of the Fal-Tor-Pan Ritual.

A lot happened over the weekend. OKC‘s Pride Fest was a rousing success, showing once again that Oklahoma City has a very vibrant cultural scene that’s a  progressive candle in the darkness of American culture at large. Additionally, we apparently have a kink scene that I wasn’t aware of.

And then The Thunder gave it everything they had in L.A., and are set to close out the Western Conference Semi-finals against the Lakers. OKC.NET staffer Daniel Page got a long-overdue new guitar, a Fender Telecaster American. Which he made Helen listen to just about every single one at the guitar store before making a very deliberate decision.

But, despite all the fun that went on this weekend, we had to go test beer on Monday. Naturally it would take us til Tuesday to really figure out what it is we wanted to say on the subject. That and there was the issue of having to do real work once we got back to the office. Things are going to be a bit interesting for OKC.NET staff over the coming months. Maybe our beer selections will reflect that. Or not.

Beer #1

Daniel:

Spaten Optimator, Germany

$6.00, 7.2% Alcohol

I’ve had this beer numerous times before, and have always enjoyed it. I got one today because it’s moderately dark, and I wanted to get a beer of mourning for Bavarian soccer team Bayern Munich losing to West London club Chelsea FC in the Champions League Final over the weekend (the Champions League is like the Superbowl of Europe). Also, I like German beers.

The Opimator is in general what you’d expect from a Doppelbock; it’s dark, sweet, malty, and heavy. Spaten’s Doppelbock isn’t quite as heavy as a stout or a porter (at least, a good stout or porter), but it’s still a formidable beer. There’s a pronounced sweetness in the aftertaste, and, despite its reputation as being “a meal in a glass”, the Spaten Optimator is enjoyably sippable.

Would You Drink It Again? Absolutely I would. The Spaten Optimator is one of the first beers I tried when I turned 21, and have enjoyed it since then. Plus, the name sounds like some doomsday device from a James Bond movie.

“After the Spaten Optimator becomes operational, the world’s finances will belong to ME!!!”

Beer #2

Daniel:

Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock, Germany

Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock, Germany.

$8.00, 6.7% Alcohol

In general, I love German beers, and the Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock is no different. It’s nuttier and has a fuller flavor than the Spaten Optimator, and has a nice doppelbock flavor profile while avoiding the cloying sweetness of the Optimator. For the price, I might prefer the Spaten, but the Ayinger is second to none in having a mature, well-rounded flavor.

 

Would You Drink It Again? I like this beer enough that I would certainly drink it again, but the prohibitive price creates a situation where I’d probably go for different, more reasonably-priced beers most of the time.

 

Left to Right: Franziskaner Hefeweizen, Chimay White, Schneider Aventinus, and Yeti Stout.

Beers 1-4 a.k.a. The Best in Show Flight

Alas, this week I’m not in search of Oklahoma beer. Rather, I thought it would be kind of amusing to just go for the gold standard first. Which admittedly I’d had a few of these beers before, but I’d never really thought about reviewing them. Even so, I did think about trying The Classen Curve flight, but none of those beers had appealed to me. Plus, I’d already arrived to Republic wanting a wheat beer like the Ayinger Brauwiess. I guess I’m done with IPAs for the moment.

1. Franzikaner Hefeweizen, Germany.

$5.00, 5.0%

In lieu of the Ayinger Brauwiess, which is ordinarily listed in the flight but happened to be out-of-stock, Matt the bartender suggested the Franzikaner Hefeweizen as an alternative.  I’ve had this beer before and it is a good substitute for the Brauwiess. But that said, I think the latter is a crisper beer. This one however is perfectly serviceable as far as German-style wheat beers go, and for the price it’s pretty good too.

Would You Drink It Again?

Yes, but only if I was in the mood for it. This is a beer I typically buy for myself at home, so I’m more likely to try a new wheat beer at a bar before ordering this as my stand by.

2. Chimay White, Belgium.

S9.50, 8%

Daniel’s told me a lot about Chimay. And I’ve read a little bit about it, that said, while it is good (velvety in the mouth, dry and bready in taste) I do think it is priced kind of high for what it is. Which isn’t to say it’s not good, but because it is very tasty, but I have a feeling there are others in the Abbey style that are probably just as comparable in quality but cost less. I did compare it to the Ommegang Abbey Ale (from New York, $5.00, 8.5%). I liked the latter more, although I didn’t have time to order a glass of it. Don’t be surprised it if ends up in next week’s beer review. Additionally a Triple Abbey Ale, like the Chimay White, and a strong ale, like the Ommegang Abbey Ale, have about the same amount of difference in style as found between a porter and a stout, which is to say that it’s very little difference at all. The Ommegang is a bit darker than the Chimay White, but stats and taste wise, they’re real competitors. Which is funny, because I’m basically telling you that a New York beer is giving a Belgium beer a run for it’s money.

Would You Drink It Again?

Yeah, I would probably drink the Chimay White again. It is good, I really like that dryness. But would I go out of my way to purchase it anytime soon? Probably not.

3. Schneider Aventinus, Germany.

$7.00, 8.2%

The Schneider Aventinus was a bit of shock. Not knowing what to expect other than a dark wheat taste that might be nutty and slightly bitter, I was completely surprised to find out this beer was not only smooth, but really complex as far as flavors go. It has a beautiful medley of sweetness, bitterness, and fruit. The latter almost has a spiced apple-banana flavor. Essentially, this is what that Wells Banana Bread beer WISHES it could be. This one is making it to my rotation, it’s really just that good.

Would You Drink It Again?

The question isn’t “Would You Drink It Again?” it’s more like “When Will You Drink This Again?” And to that I say, probably on Friday. I don’t know, the staff have a busy week/weekend planned. There might not be *gasp* time for drinking really fancy beers. And honestly, for the sake of steady camera work, there may be no drinking whatsoever.

4. Yeti Stout, USA.

$7.50, 9.5%

Good heavens. This really is like velvety dark chocolate liquefied with espresso and then brewed into one very strong alcohol-laced drink. 4 oz is more than enough. If this were a star in the skies, it’d be a black hole. Seriously, this is the neutron star of beers. I don’t know how anyone is supposed drink a whole glass.

Would You Drink It Again?

Yeah, but I’d really have to be in the mood to a) drink it, and b) find people also in the mood to drink something insanely rich so we can split the bottle. This beer would be a perfect example of how less is more.

One Comment
  1. As a bartender at RePUBlic, I agree with almost everything you had to say about these beers. Unfortunately, the Ayinger Brauwiess is STILL out-of-stock…everyone misses it! However, my favorite beer on draft is the Great Divide Yeti…I am known to have a few pints in one sitting. It is complex, thick, rich, chocolately, espresso flavored, “motor oil like” beer and it is one of my top 10 favorites. That being said, I am a 22 year old girl who enjoys imperial stouts and scotch on the rocks more than just about anything. So, next time you’re in the mood and need someone to share with, come up to RePUBlic and I will be happy to help you out with that!

    I am so glad you have found a few new beers to enjoy during your trip in and hopefully I will be there next time you drop by. I love talking to fellow beer geeks when I am working.

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