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Capital Brewery
Middleton, WI

Style: Maibock

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

There are few things that denote the arrival spring more than March Madness, Scotchtoberfest, melting snow, and the thawing carcasses of dead rabbits in the yard revealed by the aforementioned thawing snow. And, of course, spring seasonals, like tonight’s featured beer, Capital Maibock.

Although Maibock isn’t one of those touchstone beers for me, it is nonetheless a staple in the basement come the end of winter; I make it a point to buy a case of it to get me through the lousy Smarch weather.

It pours a crystal clear amber, although the perfectly white head is a bit thin and short-lived. Immediately the enticing smells of caramel-like Vienna (and maybe some Munich?) malts coming a-wafting off the top of the mug. A nose-deep sniff yields more of the same super-clean, sweet, ever-so-slightly toasty malt with touches of spicy German hops.

Maibocks aren’t supposed to be heavy, complex brews unlike their normal bock brethren, and Capital’s take is no exception. Medium-bodied, Maibock is all clean, pure malt flavors; no esters, no DMS, just German maltiness; the finish is medium in length, with some maltiness lingering over a tiny, tiny peppery hop nip at the end along with a little burn of CO2.

Maibock is the ideal spring beer—light and clean enough to be drinkable while still chewy enough to hold off those late March/early April cold snaps—and, being a seasonal, one of the reasons to look forward to the end of winter.

It’s also probably the closest I’ve ever come to handing out five mugs without actually doing so. But that distinction serves as a perfect illustration of what it takes, to me, to make a five mug beer. Capital Maibock is easily the best maibock I’ve ever had. It’s a technically perfect representation of its style. Technically perfect, but artistically, well, barren is a harsh word, but what I’m getting at is this beer is all science and no art. This is what separates it from another of Capital’s beers, Autumnal Fire. Autumnal Fire is a five mug, world class beer, because Capital took the doppelbock style and not only made a phenomenally good beer, but gave it a unique twist. In other words, they stamped it with their distinctive approach to brewing and made it their own. That, to me, is what makes a beer truly great, a five mug beer, one of the best beers in the world. Capital’s take might be the best maibock in the world, yet to Eddie Glick, it’s a great, highly recommended four mug beer.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on March 16, 2010.
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