I have to admit, I almost passed this up.
Just the other day, I was cruising my local Mom and Pop fermented goods store, perusing the big fancy bottles. Champagne corks, twisted wire, all of them doing their best imitation of a Trappist monk’s prized brew. However, something big and red caught my eye. A no-frills six-pack, basic design, called “Lobotomy Bock”. I decided to take a chance on this one, and picked it up. Back at home, I was actually amused at the oddly pliable cap, almost as if they are re purposing antique tin!
When I went to pour into my favorite goblet, to further add to my amusement, it looked like someone switched my drink with a cola. It was a rich, dark brown, and but not even opaque in the slightest. Fizzy too, not as fizzy as a soft drink, but more than your average micro. The lacy tan head was reassuring, but then it hit me: the aroma. Warm, smoked, very appetizing. Personally, that smell is almost the best part. Someone get a candle company on the phone, there’s money to be made.
Despite its lackluster design and humble container, this was definitely a bock, as advertised. A bock packed full of strong, chocolaty, caramelized, malty goodness. It had a good amount of sweetness to it, but nothing that was obtrusive. I would like to say it had a good balance of malt to hops, but I was initially hard-pressed to find the hops to compare! You can get just a taste of that earthy flavor at the beginning, but it is swept away by the stronger smokier flavors. You could just barely tell that yes, these are good hops, and no, they didn’t use much. By the second bottle, you could almost chuck the pretense to hops at all and call this that disdainful moniker, “Malt-Beverage”.
However, to the Mr. Hyde of those gas station memory-erasers, this is the Dr. Jekyll. It is a more civilized and worthwhile drink, but if not only for the sake of it being a bit milquetoast. Not because of it’s alcohol content, at a hearty 10.5%, but the complexity of it. I guess Indian Brewing Company just didn’t want to offend anyone? Who knows.
I would save this one for any “new” beer aficionados rapping at your door, wistfully dreaming of a world outside of macro-brews and national ad campaigns. In fact, the lackluster design and packaging will only serve to bolster the idea that they are in the “underground” beer drinking world now.