Old Dominion Brewing Company - Big Thaw Bock

Old Dominion Brewing Company - Big Thaw Bock

Beer Club featured in U.S. Microbrewed Beer Club


United States

Alcohol by Volume:


Old Dominion Brewing Company - Big Thaw Bock

  • ABV:

  • Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs):

  • Serving Temperature:

  • Suggested Glassware:

    Pilsner Glass or Mug
  • Malts:

  • Hops:

    Bravo, Crystal
Old Dominion’s spring seasonal, Big Thaw Bock, is brewed as a maibock, or helles (meaning “light” or “pale”) bock, which is essentially a paler take on a traditional bock, with similar alcohol levels but a flavor profile that tends to add more emphasis to the hops. Big Thaw Bock pours a lightly hazy coppery-orange color with a fairly large head of fluffy foam. On the nose, look for a complex variety of various subtle aromas; we found a lightly sweet impression with a touch of biscuit dough and just a dash of caramel, with a floral and mildly spicy hop aroma with a bit of a fruity undertone hinting at apple flesh and white grape juice. On the palate, expect a big, round, moderately sweet core from the 100% pale malt. We found this a well-balanced maibock, with a moderate level of hop bitterness to balance the residual sugars. Old Dominion dry-hops this brew with Crystal, adding a fairly spicy character, and the alcohol, while fairly hidden on the nose, comes through a bit on the palate as the beer warms (an expected and desirable characteristic of maibocks of this strength), amplifying the spicy quality and adding a further drying counterpoint to the malt center. The brewery recommends pairing with shrimp, crab dip, lobster or steamed mussels, and to that we might add Kobe steak strips or even a London broil for the meat lovers among us.

Though Old Dominion Brewing Company began life in 1989, the passion behind the company goes back much farther.  Founder Jerry Bailey’s path to professional brewing began at Christmas of 1978 when he received a homebrewing kit from his brother Tom.  Over the subsequent years, Jerry developed his brewing talents making beer for himself and his friends.  By the late 80’s, Jerry, who was working for the federal government in the Washington, D.C. area, began to feel restless with his official vocation and desired something more out of life.  When his friends suggested he start a brewpub, Jerry knew immediately this was the path he would follow.  After doing considerable research and developing a business plan, he began to search for a home for his new brewery, eventually choosing a site in Loudoun County, VA, in the D.C. metro area.  In celebration of the brewery’s home in Virginia, he chose “Old Dominion” as its name and the whitetail deer (a common sight throughout the state) as its iconic symbol.

When Old Dominion Brewing Company opened for business in 1989, it found immediate success as the first microbrewery in the Washington, D.C. area during a time when the craft beer movement was still very much in its youth.  They soon had the support of a very loyal customer base among the local population, and as more and more Old Dominion beer flowed to local pubs, restaurants, and supermarkets, that following continued to expand.  In the years since their opening, Old Dominion has been well-recognized within the brewing industry for their excellent products, winning over a dozen medals at the Great American Beer Festival, and being ranked among the 50 best breweries in the US by Fortune magazine in 1995 and one of the five best in the US by Smart Money in 2000.  In 2007, Jerry Bailey passed ownership on to an equally passionate beer lover, Bill Muehlhauser.  After outgrowing the capacity of the original brewery, Old Dominion was relocated to a larger and very modern facility in Dover, DE where they continue to offer the same excellent beers and are well positioned to grow as this country’s beer renaissance drives more and more people to the good stuff.

For more information about the brewery and scheduled tours, visit www.olddominion.com or call 302-678-4810.

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