When you bring up beer styles that are perfect for cold winter weather the most obvious styles people will point to are rich, dark and malty beers like porter and stout. There are a number of other heavy and boozy beers like barleywine, tripel and quadruple that many also use to keep warm in the coldest part of the year. An underappreciated winter style is dopplebock, a dark and higher alcohol German style lager. I love a good dopplebock, the rich malt flavor and clean lager finish combine for a delicious and easy to drink beer when it’s well executed. Unfortunately very few local breweries make dopplebocks, it’s a niche style and requires longer fermentation times at lower temperatures, so it can be a tough sell for breweries operating on thin margins. I was excited to see cans of Fort Hill Dopplebock hit the shelves this fall. Fort Hill has quickly established themselves as a popular option in the local market, making a variety of flavorful beers at a reasonable price point. While their hoppy beers have attracted the bulk of the attention (no surprise there, IPAs pay the bills), Fort Hill makes a wide variety of ales and lagers. Fort Hill Dopplebock is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 12 oz cans.
Fort Hill Dopplebock pours clear deep red with a solid white head. The aroma is mild, just a hint of roasted malt. The beer is malt forward, notes of caramel, bread dough and brown sugar along with a little residual sweetness. There is a touch of hop character that adds earthiness and some balance. Fort Hill Dopplebock is on the light side of medium bodied and at 7.5% ABV is on point for the style. It features a clean lager finish with just a little lingering malt flavor and sweetness. This is a solid dopplebock, I would have liked a little more body and roasted flavor, but there is a lot to like here and it’s great to see another local version of the style. Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5.
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