Thursday, 29 October 2009

2009 Bokbier Festival

Is it that time of year already? How the years fly by. Here's was me thinking it was still Tuesday and it's actually almost November. Bokbierfestival time.

These are the details:

32e PINT Bokbierfestival
Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam
Friday 17:00-23:00,
Saturday 12:00-23:00,
Sunday 12:00-19:00
Entrance: €8
Beer price: €2

I'll be there on Saturday, as usual. Saturday afternoon, when it's nice and quiet. I hate crowds. (Really, I hate people.) My routine will be the same. Buy armfuls of stuff at the book stall, try to dodge the infected beers and finish off with an Ijsbok.

I may be wearing a Barclay Perkins T-shirt. If you want to press money or beer into my hands. Should you have another reason to find me, I'll be wearing a Hell's Angels jacket.


Gary Gillman said...

Ron, have you ever written on the origins of bokbier? I had a few brands on a trip to Amsterdam about 5 years ago, it was in November so there were many kinds to taste. Some seemed indeed not well-brewed, some were top-fermented (small breweries I think), some were the dark sweet kind, lager ferments, that Jackson wrote of in the 1970's.

Is there a connection to German bock? A bock in France (per Jackson again) was also a low-cost beer, a draft beer, so the terms can lend to confusion.

At its best the style was very good but there were some duffers too, at least at the time.


Ron Pattinson said...

Gary, yes I have written about Bokbier. (Though I had to search on Google to find it.)

In the late 19th century the new Dutch lager breweries made a variety of German styles: Münchener, Vienna, Kulmbacher, Bok and Pils. Dutch Bokbier is clearly derived from German Bock.

Originally, Dutch Bokbier, as in Bavaria was served at Lent. However, brewers kept releasing their Boks earlier until they got to November. Then the Dutch brewers' organisation stepped in and set an agreed date for the beginning of the Bokbier season.

I've got photos of some Amstel and Heineken brewing records that include examples of Bok. Maybe I should fish some out.

Oblivious said...

I wounder if there is any similarity to Hungarys Dreher Bak?

Gary Gillman said...

Hmm that's interesting. In French "bac" means a low boat (ferry), vat or trough, does it mean something similar in German?


Ron Pattinson said...

Oblivious, my guess would be that Bak was a Hungarian spelling of Bok.

Rod said...

"Hmm that's interesting. In French "bac" means a low boat (ferry), vat or trough, does it mean something similar in German?"

No - "Bock" means ram (male goat) in German, related to the English word "buck".
The theory is that Bockbier was first brewed in Einbeck, in Saxony, and widely exported. It sounds a bit silly in German to order "ein Einbeck", so the name just got shortened to "Beck". In time, given the Bavarian accent ( where "acht" [8] can be pronounced "ocht", the name became corrupted to "Bock". Of course calling it "Ram Beer" also conveys an impression of strength....

Rod said...

Ron -
is it just me, or is there some pretty dodgy history in this article

Ron Pattinson said...

Rod, I wouldn't like to comment on the accuracy of the history in that article. It's the usual story, but how much fact there is behind it isn't clear.

Rod said...

Ron - I was thinking specifically about this

"Of course, the original recipe could not be reproduced precisely. The malts made in Munich were darker and wheat malts could not be used by regular breweries, thus the Munich beer was darker than the Einbeck original. In addition, the high carbonate levels of the Munich water produced a harsh bitterness in highly hopped beers, so the hopping levels were substantially reduced, yielding a malt-balanced beer. Finally, lager fermentations were common in Munich by this time, so the bottom-fermenting yeast was used."

Any evidence for any of this, that you know of?

Ron Pattinson said...

Rod, I'd like to see the German orginal. Weiss does not mean wheat. If the translator didn't understand that, you're buggered. It's possible the text actually means that they used a mixture of weiss (air-dried) and braun or darr (kiln dried) malt.

I've not researched that far back so I really can't say how accurate that story might be. I'll see if Unger has anything to say on the subject.

rod said...

Thanks, Ron - that's clarified things so far as the grist is concerned, I think. I can't find the original text in German on the internet, and as I only speak 20th Century Hochdeutsch, I'm not at all confident that I'd understand it properly anyway.

"lager fermentations were common in Munich by this time [1620], so the bottom-fermenting yeast was used."
What's your opinion on that? I had thought that, whilst occasional, empirical bottom fermentation occured in Bavaria, the isolation and stabilisation didn't happen until Sedlmayer, Dreher and Jacobsen, more than 2 centuries later.