Welcome to our weekly beer column, wherein we point you toward the world’s destination brews.
Beer: Celebrator, Doppelbock
Brewery: Ayinger; Aying, Bavaria
Availability: Sold in 4-packs and on tap all over the world
Tasting notes: This dark brown beer smells a bit sweet with a strong malt presence. There’s an overly malty taste with strong flavors of caramel, toffee, and a hint of molasses. The whole experience is toasty and roasty. Both the aroma and flavor have lingering nutty undertones, like hazelnuts and candied pecans. Crisp and sweet finish.
Food pairings: It may sound crazy to suggest you go British with your food while you drink a German beer, but greasy pub-style fish and chips are perfect with a doppelbock. And if that’s too sacrilegious for you, go all-out German and serve the Celebrator alongside a big platter of grilled bratwurst with a side of good mustard and a healthy bowl of German potato salad. The sweetness and nuttiness found in the flavor profile also lend themselves to a wide-array of creamy desserts and baked goods as well.
Recommended clothing: Wear lederhosen while drinking this beer. Not optional.
While hoppy beers seem to dominate the American craft beer market, malty beers deserve equal respect. The award-winning Celebrator is one of my favorite malty beers on the market and one of the most widely respected beers in the world. As a bottom-fermenting lager, it should be a bit crisper than many of the ales coming out of breweries today, but don’t let the term “crisp” allow you to think this beer lacks flavor. It possesses a robust roasted malt character accompanied by both sweetness and nuttiness.
The original doppelbock was a German-made beer called “Salvator” made by the brewery Paulaner. Nowadays, doppelbocks often steal the “-ator” suffix in the name both as an indication to the consumer that it is in the doppelbock style and as an homage to the original. Other examples include Abita’s “Andygator,” Smuttynose’s “S’muttonator,” and Bell’s “Consecrator.” The other trivial-pursuit-esque fact about doppelbocks (and bocks for that matter) is that “bock” means “billy goat,” which is why you will virtually always see goats on the label of a bock — and why this doppelbock (a.k.a. double bock) features two proud billy goats cradling a big old glass of beer.