It cannot be long before the summery white beers in cafés and the supermarket are replaced by a spicy autumn bock: the bock beer season starts on 1 October. International beer sommelier Arvid Bergström tells how you can best combine such an autumn bock with food.
"Bock beer distinguishes itself from pilsener by the use of more and different types of malt. This produces different sugars during brewing and therefore makes the beer fuller in taste. In addition, the malt is roasted in bock beer, giving the beer a light caramel taste - plus its darker caramel flavor color - and sometimes also a small malt bitter ", Bergström explains. In addition to being an international beer sommelier, he is a cook and has written five cookery books on beer.
So can an autumn bock be brewed throughout the year? "That's right," Bergström confirms. "An autumn bock is, as we call it, 'more warm' than, for example, a pilsner or an IPA. And people like that in the fall. In the spring and summer we prefer to drink beer that is lighter in color and taste."
"Dubbelbock tastes stronger and you drink in small sips." Arvid Bergström, international beer sommelier
There are few 'demands' for a bock beer, except that the beer must have a stock root content of at least 15.5 degrees Plato. This stock root indicates the specific gravity of the wort and therefore says something about the gravity of the beer. For comparison: a pilsner has a content of between 11.5 and 12 degrees Plato, but there are also heavier beers that start with 20 degrees Plato.
A 'normal' autumn bock has an alcohol percentage of around 6.5; a pilsner about 5. There is also bock beer that sits higher, between 8 and 8.5 percent. "That is a so-called double bock", says Bergström. "Dubbelbock tastes stronger and you drink in small sips."
Powerful cheese combines well with an autumn bock. (Photo: 123RF)
A hearty evening meal with mushrooms or grilled meat
An autumn bock combines very well with mushrooms, says Bergström. "Mushrooms have a bit of a weeige taste and a dried wood taste. They also contain some umami, a flavor enhancer that looks like broth. This allows you to taste other tastes better."
A hearty meal with mushroom cream sauce or, for example, potatoes, meat and vegetables with some fried mushrooms and tomatoes is a tasty combination with bock beer. Bergström itself likes to eat its autumn bock together with a pie with homemade mushroom ragout.
Everything that is grilled also combines well with bock beer. "Grilled meat, such as pork tenderloin, steak, or chicken spiced with curry and paprika, are simple but beautiful combinations with bock beer."
An autumn bock combines well with:
- Grilled meat
- Strong cheese such as red crust cheese and aged cheese
- Smoked mackerel (with peppers)
For drinks with cheese and mackerel
At the drink, a red crust cheese - as a block or on a toast - works well if there is bock beer on the menu. "Gouda cheese is certainly an option, and a bit more accessible, but then I would go for a matured older cheese. This has - just like the beer - a strong taste," says Bergström.
Finally: smoked mackerel also combines very well with bock beer. "Certainly with a double bock," says Bergström. "Because the beer from the Dubbelbock is more intense in taste, it is extra delicious with food that is also slightly more intense. So the combination with a fat mackerel with peppers is perfect."
See also: Can you eat the cheese crust or not?