Bock around the clock

By on January 14, 2015

ABC introduces Aero-Head

January 9 marked the beginning of a new era at Appalachian Brewing Company. All locations began pouring Aero-Head Bock. This keg tapping officially launches a new series of flagship beers for the brewery; over the next two months ABC will release Outta Focus Double IPA, Chocolate Avenue Stout, and Trail Blaze Maple Brown Ale.

Appalachian Brewing Company’s Aero-Head Bock is a lightly hopped beer with slightly sweet maltiness.

Appalachian Brewing Company’s Aero-Head Bock is a lightly
hopped beer with slightly sweet maltiness.

At first, the beers will be available only on draft at ABC locations, but shortly all four beers will make it into the new Craft Collection variety case. According to ABC Director of Marketing Mike Parker, the beers will also be available in individual cases and in kegs in the near future.

“The Craft Collection variety case featuring a six-pack of each of our new flagship beers is expected to be available on March 1, 2015. That means, you should start seeing it on the shelf at beer distributors around then,” writes Parker, who adds customers looking to purchase six-packs will be able to do so at all ABC locations.

I couldn’t let this event go without grabbing a pint, so I visited ABC Lititz on Saturday (two of my friends beat me to the bock on Friday night and gave the beer “two thumbs up” on Facebook). A bock is a German lager with an ancient history. Brewed strong in the winter, bock dates back to medieval times and was traditionally a beer for celebrations. Aero-Head weighs in at 6.7 percent ABV. I really enjoy this lightly hopped beer with its slightly sweet maltiness.

Labels for the new brew will feature a hang gliding goat. So, why the goat? A picture of a goat adorns the packaging of almost all bocks. Some beer historians claim the association is due to bock traditionally being brewed under the astrological sign of Capricorn. Others place more emphasis on the region where the beer was initially brewed, the town of Einbeck; Bavarian tongues pronounced the town name like “ein bock,” which translates to “a goat” (specifically a male). Then, why a hang glider?

“The name ‘Aero-Head’ is a play on words, as it is pronounced like ‘arrowhead,’” explains Parker. “It’s one of the most fun and playful labels we’ve ever created at ABC, and early reaction from our customers has been great. I think they always appreciate the local connection to our beer.”

ABC often looks to the Appalachian Trail for inspiration. Native American artifacts like arrowheads can be found on the trail and throughout southeastern Pennsylvania. The twist on the word comes from Dauphin County’s Weiser State Forest where a section of the trail Parker hiked regularly as a teenager is named “the hang glider spot.” The “aero” sport was mixed with arrowhead and the goat got a ride.

“And I bet you thought naming beers was easy,” adds Parker.

Aero-Head was so tasty it made me wonder why bock is not a more popular style. Big brewers like Yuengling and Shiner have been producing bocks regularly and most craft brewers dabble in bocks only during the winter. Now, ABC will have a bock available year round.

Michael C. Upton works as a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure, covering subjects ranging from funk punk to fine wine. He invites your comments and suggestions at facebook.com/SomebodiesProductions.

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