Ever since Gordon Biersch closed their DC metro locations (downtown in 2018, Navy Yard, Rockville, and Tysons in 2020) finding high quality malt-tastic doppelbock has become increasingly difficult. But there are some good local options that are packaged throughout the year, so I’m always eager to try another when it comes along.
There is of course a wonderful, award-winning double bock beer a few hours north of us in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Troegs Brewing’s Troegenator Double Bock is that almost-local option available year round, and they recently began using Pennsylvania-grown Keystone Pale malt from Deer Creek Malthouse.
I figured I’d put Jailbreak’s Doppelbock next to Troeg’s to see which my wife and I liked better. We sampled the beers together, the two of us comprising the Stein sensory panel. First the vitals prior to comparing and contrasting.
Nearly identical in color, Troegs’ bock is a hair darker. Jalibreak’s is a bit less alcohol at 7.5% alcohol by volume compared to Troegs’ 8.2% ABV. Both possess a beautiful dark copper color, certainly amber, a few hues darker than a shiny new penny. They also have brilliant clarity, beers that let you know they took some time to make.
Sniffing the lagers from our Spiegelau glasses, Troegs’ bock was a little dustier, more of what I’d refer to as a “cellar character.” “Not as fresh,” my wife said as I checked the package dates on the can and bottle. Jailbreak was canned 12/19/22 and Troegs was bottled on 12/14/22.
The smell of the Jailbreak bock is more aromatic, “more floral in aroma,” my wife noted, the same sense of smell I picked up on.
We begin to taste the Pennsylvania-brewed and the Maryland-brewed bocks. Jalibreak tastes fuller. And with a thicker mouthfeel, the Jailbreak is also a bit more rounder, smoother, more full bodied in the overall perception of taste.
Troegs’ bock is a bit sharper, less full bodied in taste, though still far from thin. The aroma is more classic brown coffee and airy pumpernickel compared to the more raisin and spiced holiday loaf aromatics that hop out of the Jailbreak Doppelbock glass.
Jailbreak Doppelbock is sweet up front with a dry, warming finish. It’s got the slightest bready reminders of the wonderfully firm and full Helles and Hefeweizens of Bavaria. I know I know, doppelbock should taste nothing like Helles or hefeweizen, but there is a very fresh and packed-full-of-vitality character that I am having a hard time describing, which is impressive given the beer was conditioned for over a month.
Jailbreak Doppelbock was double decocted and mashed with all German malts: Pilsner, Munich 1 and 2. It was hopped with Czech hops from Zatec and German Hersbrurcker hops. The lager strain used is the Augustiner variety and it helps the lager straddle that line between wonderful ethanol boozy sweetness and dry highly attenuated extra crispiness.
Despite the 7.5% ABV this beer is very easy to drink and highly digestible. It pairs wonderfully with pierogis and goat cheese. Ultimately, my wife and I preferred Jailbreak’s Doppelbock German Lager over Troeg’s Troegenator overall, but both were very tasty, especially accompanied by pierogies and goat cheese.
A massive shout out to the production team at Jailbreak who made this wonderful lager; Nikki Johnson, Rob Fink, and Jonathan Reeves. I was gifted this lager by Jailbreak via my editor, and the record now reflects that this can was $free.99 whereas the bottle of Troegenator Double Bock cost me $2.40 at the brewery in Hershey.
A six pack of Jailbreak Doppelbock German Lager will run you $10 plus tax at the brewery and slightly more at DC and Maryland stores.