February 3, 2014 by Prost Brewing
If the recent series of snowstorms, bitter-cold weather, and lack of sun has left you with a slight case of the winter blues, then you might need to grab for a tall glass of big, rich, and malty nourishment in the form of a traditional German winter beer. In Germany, it is currently the season of “Starkbier” (a.k.a. strong beer), a time in which Germans head to the beer halls for the heaviest, maltiest, and yet smoothest brews in the world.
Starkbier season takes place from December though May in the Bavarian alps, and since these beers take extra time to produce, brewers must begin making them as soon as the Oktoberfest celebrations come to an end. Thus, these special brews mark the beginning of the brewing season just as Oktoberfest marks the end. Brewers use the newest hops and the newest malt from the recent harvest to make these traditional German brews, beginning the process immediately after Oktoberfest and then letting the beer rest for weeks or even months so that it can acquire its characteristic strength and irresistible smoothness. In Germany, these brews are typically ready on the first day of Advent, just in time for Bavaria’s outdoor Christmas markets.
“Starkbier,” also known as “Bockbier,” is so rich that it is meant to be sipped upon instead of the usual guzzling that often occurs with a light summer beer. The “strong” character of these beers comes partly from their high percentage of alcohol by volume, which for a standard Bockbier is no less than 6%. While quaffing down a beer is often appropriate on a hot summer day, the bone-chilling temperatures of a Colorado winter make savoring a beer sip by sip a most pleasurable experience as you sit by the fireplace and watch the snow fall.
Nourishment this winter comes in the form of a heavy, malty, and smooth brew with a gentle and subdued bitterness that will do nothing but drive those pesky winter blues far, far away. Without the hoppy and sometimes rather abrupt finish, you will be allowed to sink into the comforting flavors these strong and heavy German winter beers provide. Winter calls for real nourishment and sweet comfort so go ahead and grab for a strong German winter beer, and regain your strength sip by sip!