Beer Review: Ramstein’s Maibock Lager

Name: Ramstein Maibock Lager
Brewing Company: Ramstein / High Point Brewing Company
Location: Butler, NJ
Style: Bock – Hell / Maibock / Lentebock
ABV: 7.5%

The legendary NJ Brewery’s world-class take on the classic Spring Lager is one of the best Maibocks I’ve ever had!

Ramstein_Maibock

From the Ramstein’s Seasonal Beers page:

Rich Amber bock beer brewed with imported Munich and Pilsner Malts and fermented with a rare lager yeast.

This beer has a deep malt character and body with a hint of toffee in the aroma. The noble hops balance the richness of the malts and provide a complex profile that hides the 7% ABV.

Two weeks in a row with Maibocks! What do I think this is, May? Well, yes, it is May and I figured I’ll make up for not having reviewed a Maibock prior to last week with back to back Maibock reviews. As it so happens, they are both delicious beers. This time around, I’m reviewing one of the more highly sought after Maibocks in the country (at least by beer drinkers who enjoy the style), a beer that ranks very highly on Beer Advocate’s overall Maibock list (#7 out of 100). I’m referring, of course, to Ramstein’s Maibock Lager, from High Point Brewing, arguably one of the best German-inspired breweries in the country. This beer, for years, has been a brewery only release available for growler fills and on-site consumption. However, Ramstein/High Point started canning some of these releases over the last year, rather than having them be growler-fill only. My parents visited the brewery a few weeks ago and my dad saved a can of the beer for me, so I figured I’d give it a review since I haven’t had any Ramstein beer in a while.

With that preface out of the way, let’s get into Ramstein’s Maibock Lager, shall we?

ramstein-maibock

The beer pours a beautiful slightly translucent amber with maybe a pinky finger thick white/tannish head. Mild aroma of malt, but mostly this Maibock smells like beer. That’s not a knock by any means. Essentially, this beer looks and smells the part of what I expect from a Maibock.

Ramstein’s Maibock Lager passes the taste/first sip with flying colors. The beer delivers everything I expect and hope from the beer. This beer is extremely malt forward and the hops are minimal. I would say the overall flavor of the beer just about makes this beer a chugger. Knowing the beer has an 7.5% ABV; however, is what prevents this beer from that achieving chugger status.

What I like best; however, is the clean, sweet finish. I intimated in my review of last week’s Maibock, May Day that some Maibocks can exhibit a slightly bitter, almost earthy finish that is off-putting. Like May Day, Ramstein’s Maibock Lager crescendos with a sweet caramel finish that brings everything about the beer together harmoniously. The beer has such a full, balanced flavor that quenches the thirst but also makes you want to go back for more.

I visited Ramstein/High Point once, a few years ago around my birthday for one of their other world class releases. This Maibock Lager is a beer worth seeking, especially if your tastes lean towards Lagers and Bocks

Highly Recommended, link to Untappd 4.25-bottle cap rating.

Ramstein_Maibock

Beer Review: Jersey Cyclone’s May Day Maibock Style Lager (Known as “May is Bock” as of 2022)

Name: May Day (Maibock Style Lager)
Brewing Company: Jersey Cyclone Brewing Company
Location: Somerset, NJ
Style: Bock – Hell / Maibock / Lentebock
ABV: 7.3%

Happy Anniversary to Jersey Cyclone, this delicious Maibock is a great celebration of the quality beer they’ve been brewing for two years!

JerseyCyclone_Mayday

From the untappd page for the beers.

May Day was brewed to capture the crisp floral aromas of a beautiful spring day. The subtle golden hue of this traditional Maibock gives you flavors of freshly baked biscuits, slightly browned toast followed by a delicate floral aroma leave your tastebuds dreaming about another sip. Aroma/Taste: Floral, Biscuit, Toasty.

I’ve written about bocks and reviewed several bocks, but this is the first Maibock I’m reviewing here at the Tap Takeover. Maibocks are the traditional German spring beer (Mai translates from German as May, after all), and are slightly maltier, slightly hoppier, and usually more amber in color than most lagers. Not many American breweries are crafting Maibocks, if anything, the doppelbock is (I’m guessing here), the most popular of the bock styles. When Jersey Cyclone announced they were canning May Day as both a celebration of their second anniversary and spring, I had to give the beer a try. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it to their Anniversary celebration, so let’s look at the beer.

Let the celebration begin as we dance around the maypole and I crack open Jersey Cyclone’s May Day!

The can pops nicely and pours a golden/amber into the Jersey Cyclone Willi Becher glass. It certainly looks the part of a traditional Maibock, at least compared to the baker’s dozen of Maibocks I’ve enjoyed including the one that started it all, Hofbräu’s Maibock. There’s a mild aroma of toasted malt, but nothing too pronounced.

How about the taste/first sip? I get what I expect from May Day, the beer exhibits sweet malt flavors (not unlike a Märzen), with some floral hints throughout the overall flavor of the beer. The mild hop presence associated with the style comes in at the finish for a very slight bitterness and a bit of spice. I also get something I can only call nuttiness? Maybe that’s toasted bread or crackers? It works and is mostly on point for the style. The ultimate finish I get is a smooth, very pleasant caramel-esque sweetness. On the whole, May Day resonates with other Maibocks/Helles Bocks I’ve had over the years. In other words, May Day is a very solid interpretation of the style.

I had a second can the following night. Something I’ve been learning and which I’ve mentioned here at the Tap Takeover is that I feel like I’m able to enjoy my “second experience” or pint/can/pour even more because I have a better idea of what to expect. That is very true with Mayday, I wasn’t trying to figure out the tasting notes, I was expecting them and they delivered quite nicely.

I also want to point out the can art of this beer. The label really captures the spirit of the beer. The image depicted is the traditional Maypole, a central motif in spring celebrations in Germanic nations. One of the first posts I wrote here at The Tap Takeover was about “Seasonally Appropriate” beers, between quality of the beer, style of the beer, release of the beer (May 1st, which is when Maypoles are generally erected), and the label, Jersey Cyclone completely nailed this Maibock.

JerseyCyclone_MayDayLabel

Happy Anniversary to Jersey Cyclone! Their quality started out strong and each beer continues to show their expertise at brewing and brewing/crafting some of the more unique and “advanced” styles of lagers. I’ve come to consider Jersey Cyclone one of my constant go-to breweries. When I stopped in a couple of months and chatted with owner Jan, he mentioned how impressed and happy he was with the lagers their brewer Charles was making and hinted that this Maibock would hopefully be ready for their anniversary party. Cheers also to Charles for crafting another excellent lager.

Prost and again, Happy Anniversary to Jersey Cyclone!

Recommended, link to Untappd 4-bottle cap rating.

JerseyCyclone_Mayday