Do we call this a knockoff or a tribute? Hal included Varietal & Lowercase Brewing’s MaicroBock in his monthly beer box. For whatever reason it floored me.
Bocks should generally be sweet and malty. A Maibock specifically should be no darker than amber and be kind of strong—6-8% ABV. This beer busted the formula—a lot darker and more like 4%. But this made it so good—unpretentious, toothsome, slammable.
I’d just gone long on a couple of brews (Nonfungible, Nothingburger) so this felt like the inspiration I needed. I was going to make this one a straight-down-the-fairway knockoff until Hal suggested I spike it with roasted pineapple. An intriguing and unexpected idea; his logic was that he gets a lot of pineapple out of this kind of beer, so why not punch it up a bit?
I’ve been playing with sous vide a lot lately and I decided to do him one better—I mixed some dark brown sugar into the pineapple and sous vided it for a day at 170° F. This wouldn’t scorch the pineapple, so it would cut down both on caramelization and the risk that I scorched something into an unappetizing mess. On the other hand, it would break down the pineapple through sheer duration, and pasteurize it to eliminate the risk of infection. When done, the pineapple was appealingly brown and squishy with a lot of juice, perfect to dump into secondary fermentation.
The brew day itself ended up being a bit freewheeling; my usual mail order supplier, Northern Brewer, had been running behind on deliveries as late so I trekked to the homebrew shop in Woodland Hills to get the ingredients that put this brew at the front of the queue. They didn’t have exactly the ingredients I had specified in the recipe—but by two years in on my brewing adventure I have the confidence to make substitutions that will result in the effect I’m going for. This was unexpectedly liberating!
I’m really happy with this beer. It embodies the core equities from the Maicrobock inspiration: malty, sweet, not overly alcoholic. The pineapple plays with the malt in fascinating ways. If you think “pineapple” as you drink it, it’s obvious, but to me it registers more as an acidy freshness that brightens up the ale without making it register as a weird tropical hybrid. I’ve served this to a lot of people already and it goes down very easy.
As for the name: spam calls are a modern-day scourge. When I’m busy, I don’t bother to answer my phone any more; when I’m bored, I’ve been known to engage “Bill Smith” from the IRS on the line for 40 minutes while he helpfully cancels my social security number and asks me to put all my money into gift cards for his safekeeping. These enterprising souls needed some kind of tribute, and it came in the form of this unpretentious Maibock.
I imagined one such scammer surrounded by a maze of antiquated technology—dot-matrix printers, computer tape drives, 300-baud modems—and Kevgusar from Indonesia returned to do a brilliant job of imagining him even further into the future, at a time when his scams have started to bear less fruit.
Growing up on KZEL classic rock radio in Eugene, I felt so edgy buying my first new wave album in 1986. My misconception—Elvis Costello is one of music’s foremost classicists.
On the other hand, the music press was crapping all over Blood & Chocolate. Costello had released King of America earlier that year and couldn’t figure out what was going on with this reversion back to garage rock. Their misconception—this album totally slaps. I will allow that printing all of the album credits in Esperanto was a little confusing.
“Tokyo Storm Warning” is basically Elvis’ umpteenth rewrite of “Subterranean Homesick Blues” (see “Hurry Down Doomsday“, “Episode of Blonde“, etc.) but it never doesn’t work.
Rob Richardson –
Okay – so I broke into this pre-Oktoberfest. Shoot me. Now, a Maibock isn’t my go-go brew, like it is for some people, even in Oktoberfest season. Dep’t of Administration Maibock isn’t your average Maibock, though. There’s a hint of tart on the palette that kindly makes the usual maltiness of this classic style a little more interesting and a little more fun! I was wondering what it was from and then I remembered … “Sous Vide Pineapple in Brown Sugar!” Yes – of course! 5 stars for making a Maibock I want to drink more than one of!