It's a strange time, weather-wise, for beer. A little too warm for the dark, hearty beers of winter. Still too chilly for the light, summery beers that taste best when they're ice-cold. Enter Maibock, a traditional bock brewed specifically for the season's first few alfresco drinking sessions — a sort of sudsy vernal equinox, if you will. The copper-colored brew is subtle enough for the Stella Artois crowd, but with enough flavor and character (strong floral and toffee aromas) to satisfy serious beer drinkers, too.
It's also relatively strong, with most beers clocking in around 8 percent ABV. Erick Olsen, the manager of Greenpoint's Brouwerij Lane, which will be carrying Maibock all month, warns that the style can be dangerous: "It goes down so easy," Olsen says. "It'll get you in trouble very fast."
And locavores should take note: Not every bearded Brooklyn brewer has mastered the style. It’s best to stick to Maibocks from the traditional German brands — Einbecker, Hofbräu, Hacker-Pschorr, Spaten — and better-known domestic craft outfits such as Victory, Ramstein, Rogue, and Smutty Nose.
Here are the places where you'll be able to hoist your stein (or bottle, or growler) this month:
Bronx Ale House, 216 West 238th St., nr. Broadway, Kingsbridge; 718-601-0204
Hallo Berlin, 626 Tenth Ave., nr. 44th St.; 212 977-1944
Zum Schneider, 107 Ave. C, nr. 7th St.; 212-598-1098
d.b.a., 41 First Ave., nr. 2nd St.; 212-475-5097
Radegast, 113 N. 3rd St., at Berry St., Williamsburg; 718-963-3973
Brouwerij Lane, 78 Greenpoint Ave., nr. Franklin St., Greenpoint; 347-529-6133
Good Beer, 422 E. 9th St., nr. Avenue A; 212-677-4836
Bierkraft, 191 Fifth Ave., nr. Berkeley Pl., Park Slope; 718-230-7600
Spuyten Duyvil Grocery, 218 Bedford Ave., at N. 5th St.,Williamsburg; 718-384-1520