When I was in Germany back in January, my buddy Nick Bruels -- who's living in Franconia for now -- rode the train up to meet me in Düsseldorf for Sticke Day at Zum Uerige. We had a great time, drinking sticke alt with Guy "One Guy" Hagner and Tom "Heavyweight" Baker, who were also over in Franconia at the time, disassembling a German brewhouse for shipment back to the U.S. (my Uncle Don was along too, just to make Jack Curtin's day...long story). In fact, Nick took the picture of me that's at the top of the blog with his cellphone that day; that's a glass of sticke in front of me. Good day.
Anyway...Nick being the tireless champion of local beer that he is (and besides, he owed me for lunch at Schlenkerla two years ago), he brought six bocks along from various tiny breweries in Franconia, something at which Franconia excels. I didn't know what the hell to do with them, I was very tight on luggage, and Don and I wound up drinking two and stuffing the others in the bags somehow. Long story, really.
Anyway...I was going out with some friends tonight who had asked me to talk to their nephew about jobs in the brewing industry. Happy to help, and we went to a BYO place, so I brought a variety of beers along. The surprise favorite of the night...was the last of the Nick bocks, Griess Hefetrüb ('unfiltered,' essentially) Bock. It was a blonde bock, 7.2% ABV, and just a pure beauty of malt: no discernible hop character, no fruitiness from the malt (unlike the deliciously fruity, chocolatey 4-year-old Ommegang we had for dessert). A simple powerful smoothness that spoke volumes about the skill of this country brewer.
Gotta get back to Franconia, with about two weeks to drink.