I live only a few miles away from Sun King Brewery, but I don't really take advantage of this awesome local resource, like some people named The Big Guy, who I swear has a mole on the inside. The alacrity with which he snags all of their special releases is envy inducing and totally not fair.
So when I was able to snag Sun Kings Barrel Aged Maibock on tap before he could, I considered it a personal, if childish, success. SUCK IT BIG GUY
It was late April (so technically not May) and spring had broken and I love a good Maibock. The Bavarians, being the beer nerds that they are, always paired their seasons with the type of beers they brewed. Fall begins the Starkbierzeit, or strong beer time. The dark 8%-12% bocks are rolled out to hunker down for the alpine winters. In the Summer, Americans are very familiar with Munich's Helles blonde beers that are served by the stein and easily quaffed with friends sharing a sense of Gemütlichkeit, that feeling of bright euphoria wrapping around friends that are warmed by good beer where time doesn't exist.
The transition between those two very distinct styles is the Maibock. Pale malts, lots of hops, and noticeable alcohol are the perfect transition when people are ready to shed their cabin fever, but not warm enough yet to enjoy a good garden party on a syrupy summer night.
Maibocks are great and although I am not a big fan of this whole bourbon barrel panacea trend, I was exceptionally pleased with the outcome. It took those sweet whiskey notes from the barrel and paired them well with the booziness that comes with a Maibock. Even though it was aged four months, the aggressively hopped bock shined with a wonderful German hop finish. Hoppy, sweet, light and boozey. It was a perfect mouthful.
I give it a 4.5. Before I had Founders Doom and the other aged IPA iterations this spring, I probably would have only given it a 4, but seeing how Sun King was able to punch their hops through, which I think is pretty difficult for four months of aging, it gets an extra half point for execution. I hope to see this again next May! Der Maibock is ausgezeichnet!
The Big Guy: I had this one at a tap takeover at Chatham Tap in Fishers a little while back. I thought it was outstanding;. Unlike El Duque I love the barrel aged beers. I am pretty sure I would drink bourbon barrel aged Miller Lite and be pretty happy. I had never had a maibock when I first tried it, but it was described to me as May's version of an Oktoberfest, and I dug that. This brew had bright hoppy flavors, mixed with big boozy heat and some great barrel aged sweetness. I really don't appreciating you telling the guys at SK that I have their warehouse bugged, it might get me in trouble. Anyway, I give this delicious spring treat a 4.5 as well.