Bock Beer

This is  the season of   buck  beer,  or bock  bier,  as the Germans put it…

Bock,  according to analysis, is a very strong   beer,  and makes  its  appearance with the first buds of  young  and verdant spring.

 New Brunswick Daily Times
April 26, 1872


Click for full view of NJ-NY Brewers announcements of Official BOCK BEER DAY

Bock is Here

Brew that Was Once Famous and in Demand

Interest Dying out Because Seen So Often

 Bock beer has been on sale in Decatur a few days…Bock beer day usually is near the first of May and it is the time when bock beer is placed on the market…Bock beer has been sold in a few of the saloons during the past week, but it was out of season.

The interest in bock beer has been dying out for several years and this is due to the fact that the larger breweries have been making bock beer at almost any time.  Consequently when bock beer day came around it was nothing new.

--Decatur Daily Review, May 1, 1900


Where’s Bock Beer Goat?

Nobody wants bock beer now ---NYC bartender

“The passing of the bock beer goat is due to two causes, …In the first place, brewers made bock too common when they perfected their refrigerating and malting apparatus so that they could carry on any part of the beer making process at any time of the year, regardless of natural temperature.

“In the old days, the bock was an Easter specialty…but the brewers were not content to let well enough alone; so they forced the season a little more each year, by putting their bock out ahead of time.  To have the first drink of bock and tell your friends about it ceased to be a distinction, because likely enough, some other fellow had been drinking the dark brew since February.”
 (Quoting a German born 2nd Avenue bar owner).

---New York Sun, April, 1906

“Ve don’t ged bock,” said a German bartender disgustedly.  “It should gome out in May afder six monts in de vats.  Dere vas more malt in de beer and it vas dark because de malt vas burnt already.  It iss de fall brewing an should be kept until de spring.  In Chermany beer got to vait six months pefore he iss sold.  Here ve make today and sell tomorrow and id aind bock.”

---“What is Bock Beer?”  San Antonio Light and Gazette, March 25, 1910

 Strictly speaking, bock beer should not be set forth for sale before May 8 of each year.  This rule is general observed in Germany, but in America the appearance of bock beer is a movable festival.  The earlier the spring the earlier the advent of the bock beer signs and the drink they advertise. 

---“Some Timely History” Los Angeles Times,  March, 1917

 Gosh, There Ain’t Goin’ to Be No Spring

No Bock, No Goat, What Is the Use of Trying to Be Happy.

There ain’t goin’ to be any bock beer this spring…You see the brewers had to stop brewing in October (Wartime Prohibition) and bock is usually brewed in December and the goat signs used to go up in the windows heralding the appearance of bock about March 17th.

---Syracuse Herald, March 16, 1919



Brewers Announce Amber Brew Will Be Put on Sale Officially

Brewers of Indiana, and of 14 other states* entered an agreement to withhold sale of bock beer, a sure harbinger of spring, until St. Patrick’s day, so that it would be well aged.

(* KY, IL, MI, WI, MO, MT, PA, NJ, NY, MA, MD, VA, DC)

--- The Hammond Times, March 15, 1937


Bock, according to the brewers, is made from burnt malt and brewed and aged twice as long as light beer.  Enough is made for about a ten-day supply before the tavern return to exclusive sale of the light beer.  There were 4,500,000 gallons distributed to stores and taverns in New York City this week.                                                                     ---March 11, 1949


Bock Beer Special Product

The bock beer season is about over...“Pure tradition,” said Edward J. Vogel, Jr., brewmaster of Griesedieck Brothers, “If enough customers demanded it, they’d get bock all year around.”

---St. Louis UP story, May 6, 1949

 The major brewers have decided not to brew bock this year.  Too expensive and not enough suds swallowers really give a hoot.                                               ---Lowell (MA) Sun,  Jan. 25, 1952

That Restriction On Bock Beer Sale

While bock beer has long been a traditionally spring beverage, there had been no specific date for state of its sale.  Some years ago, however, brewers thought it would be a good idea to establish uniformity by fixing a definite date for opening the bock beer season and prevailed on the legislature to enact a law prohibition sale of bock before March 17.

---Mansfield Ohio, May 29, 1952


Bock Beer Mystery – Or the Comeback That Failed

Bock never recovered from the blow (of WWII grain shortages).  Then came the death blow, (quoting an area distributor). “Some brewers began rushing the season.  They began selling bock in February and even (with a shudder) in January.  That killed the springtime tradition.  We gave up.” 

---Syracuse Herald American, March 30, 1952


Bock Beer

A Sure Sign of Spring - Liquor Board Sets Sale Date Feb. 15

(Lansing (AP)) When bock beer goes on sale, it means spring can’t be far behind.  The State Liquor Control Commission has sent out a notice that the heavy, rich dark beer can go on sale in Michigan Feb. 15.

---Jan. 21, 1971