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Beer Reviews

Blonde Doppelbock

Other reviews for this beer:
Eddie Glick one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer read it ›
Capital Brewery
Middleton, WI

Style: Doppelbock

Nigel’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Recommended)

Hello again fellow Beer Dorks, and welcome to Nigel's Happy Action Fun Time Beer Review Ride. I gotta tell ya, yours truly was cutting it pretty darn close with this one. You see, Capital's Blonde Doppelbock is another seasonal brew from this fine Madison-area brewery, appearing around the first of March and running through April. Well, I have a few hours left in April, so I'm slipping it in at the wire. I have to say, this reminds me of my college years, when Nigel would start his 20 page research paper about three days before it was due (and got an "A" every time). Nigel briefly thought he was a bit chronologically confused, as I reviewed Capital's Maibock a few weeks ago and Blonde Doppelbock would logically seem like the earlier release of the two. Fortunately for me, they are released virtually simultaneously. In the Maibock review, I gave a brief summary of the progression of seasonal brews from the autumn through the spring months. I'll pause here, as you should all be scrambling to read my Maibock review (hint: click "rated beers" on the top toolbar, and scroll down to Capital Maibock)

Welcome back. That would have been much easier if Nigel was not mildly retarded (and lazy), and had just entered a nice little link to that review right there. Oh, well. Anyways, Blonde Doppelbock falls neatly into the cycle of lighter to darker to lighter from the early fall to late spring months. It's a tad bit darker and stonger than Maibock, though honestly, the two can be a bit difficult to distinguish from each other in certain categories. I have to say, Blonde Doppelbock is an appropriate name as this beer is Sally McNally when compared to Capital's Autumnal Fire, the late fall Doppelbock release that, in my humble opinion, sets the standard for what a craft Doppelbock should be (to see Nigel's review for Capital Autumnal Fire, click rated... oh, hell- you know the drill). While definitely malty, Blonde Doppelbock is lighter in body than Autumnal Fire, with a lower abv. Like Autumnal Fire and Maibock, it's far stonger and tastier than Capital's winter release, Winter Skal, but I have to admit I still don't understand why such a wussy beer serves as the winter selection from such a quality brewery (to see Nigel's review for Winter Skal, click... yeah, you got it).

Blonde Doppelbock is highly regarded in the craft beer community, and its release is always cause for celebration among Upper Midwest Beer Dorks. So, how does a German-style brewery in Wisconsin celebrate such a notable event? Why, they throw fish, of course. I'm dead serious here- they actually throw smoked chubs off the roof of the brewery. Work with me people, and try to visualize Capital's Bockfest. A couple of hundred people gather at the Middleton, WI brewery, many huddled in an OUTDOOR beer garden on the last Saturday in February (to those non-Midwest Beer Dorks, please note that late February in Wisconsin is about as warm as late February in Greenland), all drinking freshly tapped Blonde Doppelbock and watching a guy throw smoked fish from the rooftop. Wow. While Nigel would love to rip into this interesting (for lack of a better term) tradition, as a part-time resident of Wisconsin I will simply say this: this is the most fun you can possibly have in February in Wisconsin, since frostbite and shoveling doesn't qualify as fun. While this celebration may be aided by the idea that Blonde Doppelbock's release means the end of another harsh Midwestern winter, Nigel would like to remind all of those Beer Dorks who were shoveling snow in mid-April that winter isn't officially over until one month AFTER the release of Bell's Oberon.

So, how's the beer? Well, it's pretty damn good, and it left Nigel torn. This is painfully close to a four mug rating, but I have to go with three just because, in my opinion, it lacked that certain extra "oomph" that would qualify it for a four. I'm guessing it's a solid four mugs on tap, but, after a couple days of debating, I settle on three for the bottled version (3.75 out of 5 if 'the man" allowed us to get more specific in our ratings- and yes, I know that rounds up to four, so bite me).

Blonde Doppelbock pours beautifully, with a deep golden brown color that has a mild head on the pour that dissipates quickly, leaving a slight "blonde" trace (it's a thinning blonde, much like Eddie Glick). Very ligthly carbonated, it's a fine looking brew in the glass. The aroma is excellent; very sweet, with heavy amounts of various malts noticeable with each whiff. Mostly a mixture of sweet and roasted German malt, this is a brew that has an aroma that kind of reminds me of an ice cream sundae in a glass (a caramel sundae, as Nigel hates chocolate)- caramel sweetness and an aroma similar to that of honey roasted cashews. What made me settle on the three rather than four mug rating was the flavor. It's quite good, don't get me wrong, but I really didn't experience anything that would make me say "wow, this beer is fantastic!" (please note that Nigel rarely utters such lame sayings, but you get the point). It's loaded with German malt, as any finely brewed Doppelbock should be, with sweet caramel and molasses flavors balanced well with a roasted nutiness and a mild fruit undertone. Hops are minimal, though a high amount of yeast combined with the malt reminds Nigel of his Sugar Mama's yummy zucchini bread in a glass (very sweet, very full-bodied and yeasty). What was it lacking, you ask? Honestly, not much. It's an excellent Doppelbock, but one that I would say doesn't quite do enough to place it in that special category that would push it into Nigel's four to five mug hall-of-fame. Again, I'm torn. The aftertaste is strong, as you would expect, but not unbearable. Medium to full bodied, I would normally say it would be a difficult session brew, but the overall sweetness of the malt makes it a bit easier to drink more than one during a sitting. Ugh. Never has Nigel been so undecided about rating a beer. Don't be surprised to see this review edited in the near future, with a kinder, gentler Nigel giving Blonde Dopplebock that last fraction of a point it needs to be in the four mug category. In the meantime, I would definitely recommend giving this a try before it's too late in the season (if it's not already), and you can always contact Nigel to tell him what a f-ing moron he is.


Reviewed by Nigel Tanner on May 1, 2007.
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