Two winters ago, I gave up beer for Lent. I will never do that again. As any good Catholic knows, beer is the one thing you're supposed to have during Lent! First brewed by the Paulaner monks of Munich in the late 1600s, the strong lager doppelbock was like "liquid bread" in that it provided nutrition and sustenance during long periods of fasting. The Paulaners even sent a cask of their doppelbock to the Pope in hopes that the Holy Father would officially condone their Lenten drinking. As luck would have it, the beer spoiled en route to Rome and tasted so awful that the Pope determined it had to be good for the soul and could thus be heavily consumed without guilt. Traditionally very malty and darker than a standard bock, the double bock has gained an increasingly higher concentration of alcohol over the centuries. The Paulaners dubbed an especially strong version of their double bock "The Salvator", thus creating a precedent for naming this beer style with the "ator" suffix. The Troegenator follows in this tradition. It's not only one of America's finest double bocks but also one of my five favorite beers, period. If you're lucky enough to live in one of the eight states that sells Troegs beer and you're not drinking The Troegenator, you are missing out!
Double bocks are great, but a lot of them are way too sweet. The Troegenator gets it just right. The sweet malts, with their notes of caramel and fruit, are the first thing you taste. And, boy, are they delicious! But with a tiny bit of hop bitterness and a wonderful toasted grain flavor, the Troegenator achieves the perfect balance that frequently eludes double bocks. It’s unbelievably smooth, yet at the same time it provides the feel-good, warming sensation of a classic winter lager (at 8.2 percent ABV, it’s deceptively potent!). As beer geeks we can sometimes get lost in pedantic statistics and fancy ingredient lists, but at the end of the day all that really matters is how a beer tastes. The Troegenator, simply put, is one of the three or four most delicious beers to have ever crossed my lips. To use a highly advanced term, it's yummy.
I plan to sample a great number of double bocks during Lent 2011 (What will I be giving up? Candy, cookies, ice cream, and various other assorted sweets). In fact, I may drink nothing but double bocks in honor of the monks who have piously imbibed this fine brew for hundreds of years. But the Troegenator is not just a winter or Lenten beverage. It's brewed year-round, and I drink it year-round. If not quite the best beer in America, it's at least the best beer in the state of Pennsylvania. A+!