The quirky history of the Genesee Specialty Spring Bock; turns 70 this year

Food and Drink

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — One of Genesee Brewing’s most iconic beers (as though most of them don’t already have some level of iconic status) Genesee Specialty Spring Bock, is turning 70 years old in 2021.

12-packs of 12oz beer are now available for retail purchase until then end of the month.

The brewery passed along seven historical tidbits to commemorate this beer.

  1. Is a Genny Classic!

Bock was Genesee’s first seasonal brew, originally released as “Genesee Bock Beer” in the Brewery’s second year of existence: 1879. The Specialty Spring Bock recipe that you can enjoy today was brewed in 1951.

  1. Is the GOAT.

First brewed in Einbeck, Germany, the beer’s name originated from its birthplace. As Bock gained popularity throughout Germany, its pronunciation was confused with “ein bock” or “billy goat” in German.[1] To this day, Bock beer is associated with billy goats, like the Bock character you see on Genesee’s packaging.

  1. Was kept cold in caves!

Bock is a bottom fermenting lager and is stored in cold temperatures to develop its smooth, robust flavor profile. The original Genesee Bock was lagered in beer cellars carved out of the High Falls gorge, next to the Brewery campus. The cold caves kept Bock chilled through the winter months, so it was ready for a spring release. 

  1. Is a Spring staple.

In 1917, the Genesee, American, Bartholomay, Flower City, and Monroe breweries of Rochester advertised jointly that they were keeping the tradition of releasing Bock only during the Easter season. Today, that tradition continues as the local breweries release Bock only in the springtime.

  1. Was brewed by monks to fast.

Doppelbock, a variation of the style, is often referred to as “liquid bread.” The beer, which has an alcohol-by-volume (ABV) of 7-10% was brewed by monks in Munich to drink through fasting periods. Doppelbock provided sustenance during Lent for many monks in the 1600s and 1700s.[2]

  1. Is a Swiss Holiday Brew.

Samichlaus is possibly the hardest Bock to get your hands on. This unique beer was created in Switzerland and named after the Swiss-German word for Santa Claus. It is brewed just once a year, on December 6 and aged for 10 months before bottling.[3]

  1. Can be frozen!

Eisbock, or “ice Bock,” is the strongest version of the Bock style. It’s brewed and then frozen, distilling the beer down for a higher ABV. There are tall tales of how this style was created accidentally when a German brewery worker left a barrel of Bock outside overnight in winter.[4]

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