Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Piss Beers of Upstate New York: Part 3

Part 1: Genesee Lager
Part 2: Utica Club

Before we go into Part 3 of my ongoing series on the various brews native to our homeland, I need to clarify something (again). The "piss" part of the title is purely tongue-in-cheek as I really am a fan of these beers. I am not impugning their quality in any manner. I have to say this before the torrent of rabid Upstaters (my people) start sending me hate mail.

Anyhow, here we have Genessee Bock Beer. Just look at that lovely green box with the wee goat a-prancin'. Like the Utica Club box, it is a veritable work of art. Here is the Bock's description from Genesee-

A "specialty" seasonal brew produced only once a year, Genesee Bock Ber is brewed in the old German tradition with only the purest ingredients. Introduced in January of each year, Genesee Bock is only available as limited supplies last. This rich and hearty beverage is brewed in celebration of centuries old tradition and the arrival of spring. Genesee Bock Beer was first introduced in 1878.

Here is the explanation for the jaunty goat from the wiki-

The Bavarians of Munich pronounced "Einbeck" as "ein Bock" ("a billy goat"), and thus the beer became known as "bock". To this day, as a visual pun, a goat often appears on bock labels.

From a design/advertising standpoint, I love everything about this product's packaging. From the shade of green, to the text's font, to the whimsical minimalism. I almost feel bad throwing out the box and empty cans, that is how much I like them.

Moving on, here is what the stuff looks like out of the can.

Genessee's take on bock is fairly dark (for Genesee) with a nice amount of head. The odor is caramel/malty and the body is thin. Hold the glass up to the light and you will see, that though dark, this bock is still a little thin in comparison to more traditional German versions. The flavor is sweet with a hint of hops and very drinkable.

This stuff drinks just like the rest of Genesee's products. It is another definitive lawn mowing, soft ball game, picnic at the park in 90 degree heat beer. Pour a twelver of cans into a cooler full of watery ice and you are good to go. With the price hovering around 8 bucks for a twelve pack of cans, how can you go wrong? As I have said in the past two installments, these are inexpensive beers, not low quality beers. Utica Club, Genesee Lager, and this Bock are all in the lower price range of canned domestics but greatly excede the quality of a Busch/Natty Ice/Old Milwakky or others of that crew.

If I am having my beer cold, cheap, and in cans it is going to be an Upstate New York beer every time. I would encourage others to give these venerable products a try too (in large quantities, with hot dogs, invite me).


  1. Two Notes:

    1. A friend who grew up in rural northeast Ohio (not that far from Western NYS) reports that his older brother, as a young man, would commonly announce, as preface to a night of getting hammered, that he had a date with "Jenny" (Genny) that evening. My friend, his much younger brother, found this to be a rather witty remark, and remembers it fondly.

    2. This post brought to mind my late grandfather's beer of choice -- Piels, and made me wonder if it had an Upstate provenance. No, as it turns out -- it's from Brooklyn. But my granddad, a NNYer, was devoted to it (along with some occasional Utica Club for variety).
    After he died, my father and my uncle were called on to fix the pump in my grandmother's well, which was known for its yearly failures and needed fixes. When they got down there, they found a neat row of about about five empty Piels cans from various can-design eras, a miniature time capsule built up over the years from my grandfather's forays below, a communication from beyond. The mere mention of it gets them teary.

    Here's to beers that inspire great devotion and provide great reliability.

  2. Recently, a friend hosted a dinner party where the theme was "bring food or drink from from your hometown."

    The first thing I could think of was Genny Cream Ale. Believe it or not, I actually found a sixer of it in a fancy-pants beer store in Seattle! Sadly, it was bottled, not canned, but beggars can't be choosers. Anyway, it was tasty, and my friends liked it too. Gennesee FTW!


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