Staatliches Hofbräuhaus (Hofbräu München) - Hofbräu Maibock
- ABV: 7.2%
- Bottle Size: 330-ml
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 31
- Serving Temperature: 45-50° F
- Suggested Glassware: Goblet, Mug, or Stein
- Malts: Munich malt, light barley malt
- Hops: Magnum, Herkules, Perle, Select
Pouring a medium amber color with crystal clarity and a cap of light khaki foam, Hofbräu Maibock looks inviting in the glass as it offers up an equally inviting aroma. Look for a malt-driven aroma with a dominant rich caramel character, lightly toasted breadiness, hints of apple and pear, and a touch of spicy, earthy, and mildly herbal hops. That rich caramel impression comes forth on the palate in a big way, too, with the malts also supplying a light residual sweetness which is balanced nicely by a moderately intense dollop of hop bitterness with a spicy kick augmented by a spicy thread of alcohol. Look for flashes of orchard fruits to appear here, as well, contributing to a delicious flavor profile that's subtly complex if you want to analyze it, but wonderfully balanced and easy to drink, too. (Or guzzle – but do watch the alcohol, which can be sneaky.) For food pairing options, we're spoiled for choice as this brew pairs well with caramelized meat and onions, bread, cheese, and tons of other stick-to-your-ribs fare. Grilled or roasted pork and fowl are good pairings, and German sausages are a natural partner, in addition to schnitzel. Soft pretzels with mustard also make for a nice snack in concert with this maibock. Prost!
Oktoberfest was born in Munich, right at the footsteps of this month's second featured brewery, Staatliches Hofbräuhaus, better known as Hofbräu München. Arguably the world's most famous 'public house', this beloved establishment has a truly rich brewing history, which we'll delve into here. Pour yourself a glass of Hofbräu Maibock and read on.
Once upon a time in the 16th century, the beers of Munich were deemed "less than satisfactory" for then Duke of Bavaria, Wilhelm V. As a result, his demanding household ordered that beer be imported from the town of Einbeck in Lower Saxony. In 1589, in order to reconcile cost and pleasure, Wilhelm's chamberlain and counselors suggested that a ducal brewery be built. The duke was delighted (wouldn't you be?) and on the very same day recruited a Benedictine monastic brewmaster named Heimeran Pongratz to plan and supervise construction of the brewery that would be known as Hofbräuhaus. Talk about doing things right! It pays to be a duke…
Wilhelm's son and heir, Maximilian I, had different tastes in beer. Preferring Weissbier (white beer) to the then popular Braunbier, and possessing a savvy business sense, he restricted all other private breweries from brewing Weissbier, creating a regal monopoly that would not only financially support his court, but would ensure no less than 400 years of experience in Weissbier brewing for Hofbräu München.
But alas, ducal tastes can be fickle, and by 1613 the court was complaining that Braunbier and Weissbier were not strong enough; they longed for the good old beer from Einbeck. A rather concerned brewmaster got to experimenting and in 1614 produced the first Munich beer made with Einbeck methods. This "Maibock", as it was called, would not only satisfy the court, but prove to be the salvation of the city. In 1632, during the Thirty Years' War, the occupying Swedish army only abstained from plundering and burning the city when appeased with 344 pails of Maibock beer brewed in the Hofbräuhaus brewery.
In 1810, when Ludwig, son of King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria, married Theresa of Saxony-Hildburghausen, a massive soiree was held. The date was October 17th, and the highlight was a climactic horse race held in a meadow outside the town. A raging success, the king agreed to a request to name the site "Theresienwiese" (Theresa's Meadow) in honor of the bride, and to repeat the festival every year. Thus, the Oktoberfest was born. But what about Oktoberfest beer? Well, two years after the original festival, the royal brewers decided to offer His Majesty a truly special brew, bolder in flavor and higher in alcohol content than beers served at the previous two festivals. The beer was none other than the world-famous Oktoberfestbier from Hofbräu München. For more information about the brewery, check out their website—which has tons of pictures and heaps of info about this historically significant brewery: www.hofbraeu-muenchen.de/en. And do plan a visit if you can; you won't be disappointed!
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