Brewery Ayinger Brewery (Aying, Germany)
It’s been Lent for a couple weeks now, so we’re in full Bock season. I
may not hate my liver have a job so I won’t be attempting the Lenten Bock challenge, but I do plan on quaffing many of my favorite strong German-style lagers. Ayinger’s Celebrator Doppelbock is by far my favorite bock beer.
Doppelbocks, literally meaning “double bock,” were first brewed by the Italian Paulaner monks in Munich early in the 17th century. Contrary to popular beliefs, the monks DID NOT brew the beer to make it through Father Paul’s excruciatingly long and painful sermons. The monks actually brewed bocks to help them last through long periods of fasting.
The longest of these periods of abstinence was Lent, the 46 day stretch between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Being stronger in alcohol meant these doppelbocks were also higher in calories, so they were an ideal companion for Lent. In fact, doppelbocks are sometimes called Fastenbier, or “Lenten beer.” There, you learned something new. Now reward yourself with nice, tasty brew.
- Appearance Celebrator pours a dark mahogany with a thick, frothy mocha head that laces the glass with each gulp. 9/10
- Aroma This brew has an earthy, malty aroma of molasses, caramel, dark chocolate, herbal hops. The aroma is lighter than the beer’s appearance suggests. 18/20
- Taste Celebrator is clearly a malt-forward brew, with notes toasted nuts, toffee, butterscotch, figs, dark fruit, and a bit of chocolate and coffee. While this sounds like a cloyingly sweet mess, it’s actually very mellow. There is a hint of smoke in the finish that balances that sweet body. Extremely enjoyable. 38/40
- Palate Lagers are typically smoother and crisper than their top-fermented brethren, but Celebrator is by far the smoothest doppelbock I have ever drank. It’s creamy, medium body masks the slightly higher ABV of this fine brew. 10/10
- Value At $12.99 for a 4 pack, Celebrator is not the cheapest beer around. But it’s one of the many examples (in the beer world at least) of paying a premium for a higher quality product. I have no problem dropping $13 on a brew of this quality. That means you shouldn’t either. 17/20
- Overall 92/100
Food Pairing For lunch/dinner a nice hearty beef stew, steak, fried chicken and waffles, spicy Mexican cuisine (the spice and chocolate of a mole would be phenomenal), and of course most German fare. For dessert (or breakfast, I don’t judge) lighter-flavored cakes like red velvet, devil’s food, pancakes. If you’re willing to sacrifice beer you can make an excellent Celebrator reduction for waffles and pancakes.
Celebrator has earned several distinctions in the Baron’s Brew Book: favorite doppelbock, favorite bock, favorite German lager, favorite German beer, favorite lager overall, favorite beer to tell people I drink for “religious reasons,” and favorite beer with unnecessary decoration.
Pretty impressive. Needless to say, I highly encourage every beer aficionado to try this classic brew. Dark beer and German beer lovers will especially appreciate this one.
If you gave up beer for Lent, you are clearly a stronger person than I. The Baron feels sorry for your loss and will personally buy you a Celebrator to enjoy on Easter.
American Doppelbocks A lot of readers have found my site through the Buy American Challenge, so here a few great examples of doppelbocks made here in the U.S. that I have enjoyed: Bell’s Consecrator Doppelbock out of Grand Rapids, MI, Tröegs Troegenator Doublebock from Hershey, PA, Epic Double Skull Doppelbock out of Salt Lake City, UT, Great Divide Wolfgang from Denver, CO, and Victory St. Victorious Doppelbock from Downington, PA.