There are as many kinds of beer festivals as there are beer drinkers. For the rare beer seeker, the geek whose second bedroom is dedicated to storing Reserve Society loot, there is the Firestone Walker Invitational (tickets on sale Feb. 7). For the beer drinker who is more inclined to drink like final exams have just ended and the apocalypse is nigh, there is Bock Fest, Sat., February 1.
Bock Fest, brought to you by Barcelona Enterprises, revolves around the celebration of bock beer - a traditional German style likely hailing from medieval monks of the city of Einbeck. When the folks of Munich developed a hankering for the malty lager it became known as "Einbock" and was eventually shortened to its current no-muss title, "bock." The more colorful interpretation of "bock" is that it shares its name with the German word for billy goat, and that after a night of drinking bock beer (which was strong back in the day when compared to typical lagers) one is likely to feel as though they were kicked in the head by a billy goat.
With a full range of sub-styles, its easy to find a bock that best suits your mood, though bock beer will always be malty and very low in hop bitterness. There's Weizenbock, a wheat beer that breaks with other bocks and is fermented with ale yeast; Dopplebock, which is "double" meaning a few alcohol percentages stronger and richer in body and flavor; Maibock, brewed in celebration of the lusty month of May, is a perfect Spring beer; and Eisbock, or "ice bock" so named for the time some goofy monk left it outside, freezing part of the water and, upon removing the ice, produced a more concentrated beer.
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Look for this spectrum of styles at Bock Fest, where you'll find a variety of imports in addition to selections from Firestone Walker, Hangar 24, Lagunitas, Sierra Nevada, and last year's winning Bock Champion from Fireman's Brew.
Bock Fest Los Angeles Winter Beer Festival will be held from 1-4 p.m. (12- 4 for V.I.P. ticketholders) in the Grand Ballroom at the Olympic Collection, 11301 W. Olympic Blvd., in West L.A. Buy tickets here. Leave your connoisseur hat at home and be sure to designate a driver, this here's a drinking festival. But don't forget the head-whomping billy goat.