The Maibock is spring personified. Understated, unassuming, easygoing with slight bouts of rain – but never overwhelming and completely enjoyable after the Minnesota winter.
This German lager is made well by Minnesota breweries. It isn’t overly hopped, giving off a subtle flavor profile that doesn’t allow for any blemishes. There is no hiding behind a robust barrel of overhopping; if you brew this beer, you have to get it right.
In today’s market of intense flavors, the Maibock is unique in that it aims to be subtle. That doesn’t mean there is lack of flavor; instead it is more precise, not so bombastic. If Pilsner is the beer of summer, Maibock is the beer of spring. Mai does translate to May, after all.
Summit’s take on the Maibock – my personal favorite – tastes like warm toast with some spices sprinkled on top thanks to the Czech Saaz hops. Insanely quaffable, perfect for warm weather, and technically sound. You can find this just about anywhere in town, and Hyvee Liquor sells single bottles of this and Maifest.
Similar to Summit’s take on the style, what sets it apart is that it is a bit sweeter. Finishing with a more intense hop bitterness, Maifest is another genuinely fantastic take on the style. Schell’s, with its German heritage, has a knack for developing great lagers –and this is my favorite.
Capital crushes lager styles, and its Maibock is no different. Another sweeter take, this one also offers up some solid floral, herbal spice notes.
Town Hall Maibock
This Minnesota brewing stalwart loves the Maibock and spring season so much that it holds a blessing for it. This one stands apart by having more of a bock flavor thanks to some toffee and caramel. It also has a nice, herbal, piney, nearly citrus hop finish.
Bready and floral, this is one offering that is available year-round instead of fleetingly, much like our spring. Surly may name drop the Zwickel beer style on its description page, but I find it to be much closer to the Maibock in flavor and appearance. Not the best offering on this list, but one that may not be a bad introduction to the style.