Here’s an interesting beer I picked up a while back: Lakefront Chris Maple Vanilla Doppelbock Lager, release 5 in Lakefront’s “My Turn” series of brews. Now, let me tell you a little about the “My Turn” series. It’s a pretty cool thing, because it allows every employee at Lakefront-no matter what they do-a chance to design and craft a beer. The theory goes that they all add to the company’s success, hence they deserve some sudsy fame.
Chris, designer of the Maple Vanilla Doppelbock, is according to the label: “director of tours and does environmental programs for Lakefront”. About her beer they say:
Inspired by homebrewing with a high school friend, Chris made a Maple Vanilla Doppelbock Lager. This one is black in color with a creamy head and smokey-sweet smell. Expect a slight bitter kick towards the finish. If you like flavor, this one’s got in spades.
Lakefront Chris Maple Vanilla Doppelbock Lager has an alcohol content of 8.8% by volume and 25 IBUs. I paid $4.49 for a 22 ounce bottle at Sherlock’s, a real bargain. Now for the bad news: Lakefront Chris is a retired beer, no longer produced. I did buy this a few years ago, after all. Perhaps with luck, though, we’ll see it re-released in the future.
Lakefront Chris Maple Vanilla Doppelbock pours to a reddish brown color with a thick creamy head and an enticing nose of vanilla, maple and sweet sticky malt. Taking a sip, this is tasty-some nutty malts up front, a bit of a pasty maltiness like fresh grist I think but I’m getting some toasty nutty maltiness, too. I get some Band-Aid phenols (not welcome), light hints of maple, more vanilla, and a sweet but warm alcohol finish. Lots of beers ferment out the maple, but it certainly comes out in this one.
This is a delightful beer, mostly because the vanilla and maple and nutty malts all work together so nicely here. Now, doppelbocks are my favorite style of beer, and I wasn’t sure what I would think of one laced with maple and vanilla. The Germans might have a nightmare over that, but this is America: we love messing with tradition. In the end, I really enjoyed this beer. It preserves enough of the doppelbock tradition but really accents the maple and vanilla to good effect. I think I consider it more of a spiced beer than a true doppel, but it was very enjoyable, and you can’t argue with the price.
Four stars with a half star bonus for the price minus a half star demerit for the phenols leaves me with, four stars. And hey, if you happen to find yourself at Lakefront taking the tour? Ask for Chris, and see if she can’t make this beer again. Tell her The Bruguru would like that very much.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.