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What do you think are the most popular beers in America? Probably Budweiser, Miller, and maybe Yuengling and Boston Lager. But did you expect Michelob’s Amber Bock to end up on that list?
For me, it wasn’t a surprise. Amber Bock is actually a beer I’ve known about for a long time, years before I even started drinking. My dad and stepdad always drank this popular malty beer. Now that I’m quite a bit of a beer connoisseur, I have to say that Amber Bock isn’t the first beer I will choose if I’m at a bar or if I’m buying beer. But let’s say my friends drag me to a dive bar or the local beer store is out of all of my favorite beers. In this case, I have no problems grabbing an Amber Bock.
But what do I really think of Amber Bock? Continue reading for my Amber Bock beer review!
Read also: Comprehensive Guide to Bock Beers.
Bottom line Up Front
I like Amber Bock. This is a popular American beer that you can find at nearly every store and bar in the country. It’s not my go-to beer, but I don’t mind drinking it if I see it on tap or bottle. It’s a medium-bodied beer that’s full of flavor yet very smooth. I also love cooking with this beer.
What Is Amber Bock Beer?
Amber Bock is a beer brewed from a combination of caramel and dark-roasted malts. The malt content is what gives this beer its smooth yet full-bodied taste and amber color. Michelob also only uses specific hops: Magnum and Hallertau Mittelfruh hops. Both hop varieties are imported from Germany. I would say the hop content is in the medium range; you mainly taste the Hallertau Mittelfruh hops, which have a floral flavor as opposed to a bitter taste.
Even with the full-bodied flavor and ingredients, this beer has a light-to-medium mouthfeel that’s moderately carbonated. This makes the beer comfortable to drink.
Who Makes Amber Bock Beer? Michelob makes Amber Bock beer. Michelob is a brand owned by Anheuser-Busch.
About the Style
Amber Bock is a combination of two beer styles: the amber lager and the bock beer.
The amber lager (simply called ambers) is a type of medium-bodied lager brewed with caramel and toasted malts. While the hop content varies, it’s usually low. However, some amber lagers have a medium-to-high hop content.
Amber lagers are a very versatile beer style, and I don’t think two amber lagers taste the same. Brewers can use specific techniques, such as dry hopping, to achieve unique flavors.
Bock is a historic type of beer originating in Germany. The first Bock beers date back to the 14th century. While they’re usually stronger than most German lagers, the ABV of bock beers usually ranges between 4%-7%.
Bock beers are usually darker in color, usually brown. That’s because of the rich malt content. However, there are paler varieties of Bock beers.
Bock beers often get confused with the Marzen, the traditional lager that’s consumed during Oktoberfest. Both beer styles have similar tastes. However, Bock beers are typically stronger than the Marzen.
Drinking the Beer
As I said previously, I have been familiar with Amber Bock for years. If I’m at a dive bar, Yuengling is usually my go-to. If you’re a Yuengling fan, you will be glad to know that Yuengling and Amber Bock share some similarities, though I think that Amber Bock has a more impressive malt content.
Here, I break down every aspect of my experience drinking this beer.
- Smell: Amber Bock has a rich smell. I smell a combination of chocolate and caramel, but the roasted and nutty scents balance the sweetness.
- Appearance: It’s a nice mahogany color. On the brown scale but you see hints of red. It has a thick head that dissipated really quickly.
- Taste: As sweet as the smell is, the taste of Amber Bock is very smooth. I would describe the taste as very warm. You taste the robust malts, and they do have a slight chocolate and caramel flavor. It’s a good middle-ground taste. You get the malt content, but the beer isn’t too dark. In addition, it’s not as hoppy as a pale beer. This is still a great beer if you want something easy-drinking that’s on the darker side. For a major beer that’s available all over the country, this beer does stand out among the Bud Lights and PBRs that you mainly find.
- ABV: 5.1%.
Cooking With Amber Bock
I was first introduced to Amber Bock in a meal, not as a beverage! My dad makes the best Texas chili. He has several secret ingredients. I won’t give all of them away, but I will say Amber Bock is one of them. Just put a half-cup of Amber Bock in the chili and stir it around.
I’m reading that you can use Amber Bock in a variety of recipes. Since it’s an amber lager, it can add a malty sweetness to a variety of dishes. I personally find this beer type works best in a dish that has a lot of sauce, such as in soups, stews, and certain pasta dishes.
In addition, Amber Bock will be a good addition to a marinade. Substitute beer for broth and combine essential ingredients such as brown sugar, ketchup, and simple spices. I’m vegan. A lot of the Amber Bock recipes I’m seeing are for meat, such as a glaze for pork chops.
Though Amber Bock isn’t certified vegan, Michelob says that no Anheuser-Busch beers are brewed with animal ingredients. This not only makes Amber Bock a vegan-friendly beer for drinking but also for cooking!
I would use this beer in a marinara sauce for flavorful spaghetti or by adding it to mushroom gravy for a full-bodied seitan stroganoff. Many marinades, BBQ sauces, and glazes, such as the one I mentioned previously, are all vegan.
You can use those recipes on meat-alternatives dishes, such as a glaze for black bean meatballs, a BBQ seitan or portobello mushroom sandwich, and cauliflower wings.
Is Amber Bock Beer Good? My Thoughts
As I said, Amber Bock isn’t my go-to beer, but it is one I will grab if I see it on tap. Amber Bock is a smooth, malty beer that isn’t too sweet.
I also like how it’s not too heavy with the perfect amount of carbonation — it’s a smooth and easy-drinking beer. Since it’s an amber lager, it’s a good alternative to light beers. I would consider this more of a fall or winter beer as opposed to a summer beer, but I drank this during the summer months and found it to be refreshing.
This beer doesn’t disappoint, but it’s definitely not as good as some of the craft amber lagers and Bock beers that I’ve had.
Where to Buy Amber Bock Beer
If my assumptions are correct, you can buy Amber Bock beer in every state. I found Amber Bock at the local liquor store where I live. You can also try searching your local grocery stores. Nearly every single major liquor store, such as ABC Wine & Liquor and Total Wine, should carry this beer. If other major retailers, such as Walmart and Target, are allowed to sell alcohol in your area, you should also be able to find it there.
While I do like Amber Bock, it’s not the first beer I grab when I’m out and about. Here are a few of my other recommendations.
1. Weihenstephaner Korbinian Doppelbock
If I’m recommending a Bock, I’m starting with the source. And that’s from the oldest brewery in the world located in Bavaria. First, let’s explain what a Doppelbock is by learning a bit of the German language. “Doppel” is German for “double.”
In other words, this is a double Bock. While Bock beers are on the strong side, the Doppelbock is even stronger. The Korbinian Doppelbock has an ABV of 7.4%, and you can expect all Doppelbocks to have an ABV of at least 7%.
So, what is the beer like? This Doppelbock tastes like a combination of amber and brown beers. It has a great malty taste and is extremely flavorful. Weihenstephaner is a German brewery, but you can find their beers nearly everywhere in the USA.
I recommend this one the most as the best alternative to Amber Bock.
2. Yuengling Traditional Lager
If I’m at a dive bar, there’s a guarantee that I will find Yuengling. This is more of an east coast beer, but it’s extending to the center part of the country. If you can find Yuengling at your local store or bar, I suggest this beer over Amber Bock.
Both are similar in terms of appearance and smoothness. Yuengling is a medium-bodied beer that has a good amber-malty flavor without being too sweet. It’s a good traditional lager that you can always count on.
3. Shiner Bock
If you want a Bock that also has a lighter flavor, I recommend Shiner Bock the most. It’s a good beer to get at your local dive bar in Texas. It’s an easy-drinking beer but has a better flavor than Bud Light and PBR.
I’m also finding Shiner in Florida now, so glad to see this classic Texas brewery is expanding.
4. New Belgium Fat Tire
This lager is okay. If I’m in the mood for something craft but am at a generic bar or a gas station, I can usually find beer. I do find it has an odd aftertaste, so I honestly like Amber Bock better because there’s no aftertaste.
It is a little on the hoppier side, so I say go for this beer if you want a hoppier lager.
5. Abita Brewing Co. Amber
Abita is a brewery that I see everywhere but never really drink. From my understanding, if you can’t buy this beer in every state then you can at least find these beers in most places. I can find them here in Florida, and I’ve seen them in Texas where my brother lives.
This is a medium-bodied amber lager. It has a malty and toasted caramel taste as well more of a bitter hop content compared to Amber Bock. However, this beer is weaker on the carbonation front. It’s overall a good beer; despite the complex flavors, it’s still very smooth.
6. Bell’s Amber Ale
Many people say this is the perfect amber ale. I say it’s alright, but it’s still a good beer. It has a malty caramel taste with some toasted vanilla flavors. This beer is a bit on the sweet side, though it’s balanced well with bitter hops. The beer is only slightly carbonated, making this a smooth beer.
Question: What’s so special about Bock beer?
Answer: As stated previously, Bock is a historic beer. The first Bock beer traces back to 14th century Germany. Like the Marzen, the Germans have used the Bock beer style as a brew for celebrations. Since it is an amber lager with robust malts and light hoppiness, it’s often confused with the Marzen. The difference is the Bock beer has a stronger ABV on average.
Question: When should I drink a Bock beer?
Answer: Any time! If you want to be traditional, you consume a Bock beer during spring. The Germans would brew the Bock in the winter and preserve it until spring. Today, it’s often consumed during modern spring holidays such as Easter and Lent. Don’t worry — Bock beers are available all year round. If you’re craving a Bock in the summer and fall, you can indulge yourself in this delicious beer style.
Question: What does Bock mean in English?
Answer: The “bock” translation is a little strange. It’s the nickname for the town Einbeck located in northwest Germany. When saying “Einbeck” in a Bavarian accent, it sounds more like “Einbock.” We typically associate German beers with Bavaria, but this beer was brewed in the completely opposite part of the country (Bavaria is in the southeast part of the country).
In addition, “bock” means “goat” in English. The name “Einbock” actually translates to “billy goat.” That’s why some Bock beers have a goat as the artwork.
As one of the major beers in America, Amber Bock is better than many of the other choices such as Bud Light and PBR. This beer is the perfect combination of amber and Bock beer. It has a smooth yet malty taste, perfect as an easy-drinking beer if you want something other than a light lager or ale.
I do suggest looking at some of the other beer alternatives, specifically the Weihenstephaner Doppelbock.