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Blonde Doppelbock

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Capital Brewery
Middleton, WI

Style: Doppelbock

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Outstanding within its style.)

I used to be an ardent Capital Brewery fan, but a series of questionable decisions in the brewhouse have left me less than enthused. First, they dropped their superb Klöster Weizen, an authentic Bavarian-style wheat, for the more pedestrian Island Wheat. It’s my contention that they’ve dumbed down their Autumnal Fire recipe to make it more accessible. Plus, maybe their best offering, Dark Doppelbock, has been AWOL for two years plus. And although they made a much welcomed foray outside the German-style lines, their gambit was the lackluster U.S. Pale Ale. Add that in with the debacle that was this year’s Bockfest, and you’ve got a brewery that’s threatening to fall off my top 10 list.

But they can still make some damn fine beer. Their Blonde Doppelbock pours the lightest you’ll probably ever see in a doppel (hence the moniker): a dark, reddish gold topped with a barely off-white head. No lacing at all, but still a gorgeous beer to behold.

After an initial waft of sulfur (a common problem with lagers) gives way to sweet Munich malt with the tiniest hint of roast on the edges and a very small bit of Euro-style hops. Capital’s brews tend to show restrained carbonation, and this one’s no different. In some styles (namely, wheat beers) this can be a detriment, but here it’s just getting out of the way so the rest of the beer can shine on its own. And shine it does. Smooth and malty, Capital’s Blonde is the easiest drinking doppel on the planet. Despite caramelly and grainy malt sweetness from beginning to end, it drinks clean with little to no astringency. Some detectable earthy hops serve to cut the finish amazingly short, making this brew all that much more drinkable.

Although Capital has made some missteps over the last few years, tampering with their Blonde Doppelbock hasn’t been one of them. This is one of the best doppels in the world.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on May 13, 2008.
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