Michelob Amber Bock

By on September 18, 2008 @ 6 PM (29 Comments)

Our 100th beer review. To celebrate? We’ll have a beer.

We strategically made Michelob Amber Bock our 100th beer rating because for both Father and Son Beer Love, and a large number of our Beer Love friends, this was our breakout beer. By breakout beer we mean the one that got us over the rank domestic hump and into the realm of beers that actually have taste. We feel like Amber Bock is the perfect beer to introduce to friends who are wanting to (or who you want to) break out into craft beers for several reasons:

  • It’s available everywhere.
  • It doesn’t feature the sticker shock of some of our beloved high end craft brews.
  • It’s dark – there’s a stigma around dark beers for those not in the know, and a lot of the good craft beers are a bit darker than your normal American lagers.
  • It’s balanced – you can easily scare a newbie away with something too malty or too hoppy when their palate isn’t yet “beer sophisticated.”
  • It works with and without food.
  • Though it’s dark, it’s still a lager, which helps ease people over to “the dark side.” Lagers don’t tend to pack the punch of flavors that ales do, so we feel it bridges the gap well between light and refreshing lagers and rich and satisfying ales.

My first run in with Amber Bock came in the late 90s. I was living with my best friend Rusty at the time and one day I open the fridge to find Amber Bocks that he brought home. Several sessions of Mario Kart, Amber Bock and Chewy Chips Ahoy later it was official.

Fast forward to Son Beer Love’s wedding over 4 years ago, where we had a full keg of Amber Bock (as well as a keg of some other light beer, though we couldn’t tell you what it was). Best man Rusty never let the groom’s glass get anywhere close to empty all night. I don’t remember a lot from the latter part of the wedding, but I can tell you I woke up the next day and felt fantastic.

Little did I know that once I had left the reception the party continued. Father Beer Love and Father Beer Love In Law decided to fully enforce the “No Good Beer Left Behind” act of 2004 and decided that they had in fact prepared their whole lives for this moment – to float the keg of Amber Bock. Only the keg will know how many glasses they drank in an attempt to empty it (10? 15? 20?) because they sure don’t remember. A very patient and loving Mother Beer Love and Mother Beer Love In Law let them back into their homes in some instances as soon as the next day.

Now on to the rating.

Michelob Amber Bock sports a 5.2% ABV and each 12 oz bottle has 155 calories. We poured ours into an American pint glass and got a temperature of 42.6 F. The pour gave us an average 1 1/4″ fizzy off-white head that left virtually no lacing as it dissipated quickly. There was little carbonation and though the body is a deep amber, it is relatively clear and you can see through it.

The aromas are mostly malts – caramel, nutty, roasted malts – but there are traces of grass as well in the smell. The tastes echo the smells but add pine, brown sugar and a slight soy sauce to the fray. The initial flavor is a light sweet and light bitter. The finish flavor is a light to moderate bitter and a light saltiness. The finish is average in duration and the mouthfeel is dry. There’s no body lacing to speak of and on our patented malt to hop scale it comes in just about perfectly balanced.

For our bottom line we say yes to drinkable, repeatable and balanced. We say no to harmony and memorable. But we do give an emphatic yes to buy again.

It’s got more depth to it than other lagers, and we appreciate that. It is an Anheuser-Busch beer, but it’s really pretty great for an American lager. It doesn’t wow us like it first did so many years ago, but it’s still good and of course it’s a sentimental favorite. Mind you the beer hasn’t changed, our palates have.

This is a perfect example of a session beer – that is a beer you can drink many of in one sitting. Don’t let it get too warm while you’re drinking it and don’t store it too long before you drink it. Though it would be better as an ale, which could give it some more complexity and depth with maybe some dark fruits, it’s a perfectly satisfying beer. If you’re going to buy a 12 pack of something, this would have to be high on the list. It’s great cold and though we’re not big on frosty mugs, it might be well suited for this one. Smooth and drinkable, this will be an old friend you can call on at any time. Keep at least a 6 pack on hand for guests in an attempt to convert them into craft beer newbies. And then explain to them that though you had bought a 6 pack for them, you drank it. Then direct them to this web page and let them read why they should go buy their own 6 pack.

Happy 100 reviews beer lovers! Cheers and good beers to you and here’s to 100 more!

Michelob Amber Bock Rating: 4 out of 10 (?)


29 Comments (Add Your Comments)

  1. Dave says:

    Congrats on the 100th! I actually remember trying this beer for the first time say 6 years ago and really liking it.

  2. Rusty says:

    Congrats on the old C mark!

  3. Awesome choice. I like the real colloquial gesture of reviewing something familiar – great writing. And again, congrats on the 100th.

  4. I know its a little late, but congrats on hitting the 100 review mark. I’ve really enjoyed your site and look forward to the next 100!
    I like the suggestion of the Amber Bock being used as a ‘conversion’ beer for those who stick to the ‘tried-and-true’ beers time and again. A safe bet to try something new!

  5. Ale Feller says:

    Congrats on the milestone.
    Amber Bock isn’t bad…it’s a decent light-dark beer. It’s good and refreshing on a summer’s evening.

  6. Curtis says:

    Five out of ten? Are you kidding me? Amber Bock is the best tasting beer/lager on the planet. It goes well with or without food, and doesn’t leave a nasty after-taste in your mouth like some other beers. I have been hooked on Amber Bock for nearly two years now and haven’t looked back. I’m surprised that it isnt’ as well-known as some other beers.

  7. John says:

    Curtis – 5 out of 10 means it’s a perfectly good everyday sessionable beer. If that doesn’t describe Amber Bock then I don’t know what does. Stay thirsty, my friend!

  8. Baron Munchausen says:

    Discovered this oh….back in, let’s say ’96. It was on tap at the restaurant where I was washing dishes in the aftermath of Michigan’s auto industry collapse. Up ’til then, as a youth I’d mostly drank crappy beers – you know, the domestics, and the cheap ones at that. It caught my attention when I tried it.

    Fast forward a bit…I bailed and moved to New Orleans, didn’t see it in stores anywhere, didn’t much worry about it. Over time, I learned to appreciate better beers. Then one day it clicked, hey, there’s that Amber Bock, I remember that! So I buy some. Whaddaya know, it’s better than the local microbrew amber. Cheaper, too.

    Now, I still go out for the exotic stuff, I’ll try anything once. But the Amber Bock still finds it’s way into my fridge when I’m looking for a realistically priced beer that doesn’t taste like….well, you all know all the old euphemisms.

  9. Kyle says:

    Simply put, Amberbock is the only beer I will go cheap to. I come from a well set family and it hard to say that i was always a “good beer” drinker. I tried budlight but never was happy with it. I found amberbock and quickly fell in love with its flavor and non-hangover feel. Been legal for almost two years and try every beer at least once, but amberbock remains easily my favorite no matter the new beer. when deep in pocket i feel a Guinness, but it needs to be an amberbock if I want to drink. I don’t want budlight or mich ultra, the cheapest I WILL BUY is amberbock. permanently thristy for more,

  10. Bill Dickerson says:

    Amber Bock is the best tasting dark lager in the country. Smooth but not too strong. Only go to retaurants that serve it.

  11. ash says:

    For some reason, I have had bad luck with miller, bud etc beers, so, I stick with craft beers and expensive european beers. I like lagers, but then I like the dark color, and saving money is always good. So, Michelob Amber Bock fits what I was looking for, just had one, tastes great, looks great, and it is much less money than the Heineken or Stella Artois.

  12. eric says:

    Great review. Love the wit and the erudition. Makes for a balanced read. Also, find myself in complete agreement with your conclusions. I’ll be reading more.

    Cheers!

  13. MARK says:

    I HAD A STRONGER VERSION OF AMBER BOCK DARK IN ARIZONA AND I CANT FIND IT IN TOLEDO OHIO! HOW DO I FIND THE STONGER VERSION?

  14. John says:

    Mark – I’ve never heard of a stronger version of Michelob Amber Bock and can’t find any sign of it on Michelob’s web site or on BeerAdvocate. Maybe you tried one of the other Michelob beers like the DunkelWeisse or the Porter? There also used to be a Michelob Dark (I think the bottle read Michelob Classic Dark) – I don’t think they make that one anymore though.

  15. Bob says:

    My step brother in law Mike introduced me to Amber Bock 5 or 6 years ago. He has since passed away I think of him often when I open a bottle and take a drink. I hold this beer and the memory of Mike dear to my heart he was the coolest guy to know. This is my favorite beer if not this its Sam Adams.

  16. John B says:

    Just found this beer. AMAZING to say the least. Yuengling and Sam Adams Boston Larger now play second fiddle to Amber Bock. I can’t wait for dinner time to come to savor the flavor with every dish I eat.

  17. Gabe O'Rielly says:

    I found Amber Bock in Florida on a golfing trip, and LOVED it! It featured in my decision to go back the next yeaR.

  18. Ed R. says:

    Amberbock has become my favorite beer. Great taste at a reasonable price!

  19. Trent Brown says:

    This is the best beer i have ever had, I have alot of friends that all they drink is busch light, bud light, Nati Light, Keystone, Etc. When i hangout with them i Drink Amberbock, because it is the best tasting beer i have ever had. Dark Beer, but has a great taste, and is the Best American Lager in my opinion.

  20. Rick Spears says:

    It’s nice to find others that feel like I do about Amber Bock. I have had it on tap, 1/6bbl, here at home for years. Convert a few, now and again who have never heard of it. For me, Long Live the True King!

  21. bmg says:

    Am I mistaken, or is Amberbock not the replacement/renamed Classic Dark?

  22. Patrick says:

    This is the first domestic “big-brand” beer I’ve actually enjoyed. Bought a six-pack (bottled) out of curiosity at the local Big Box and found it a smooth taste with just enough of a hint of bitter to add an interesting tang to the flavour and little to no aftertaste. And it does indeed go well in a frosty mug.

  23. John says:

    BMG – Classic Dark was retired a while back. Amber Bock may have replaced “dark lager” in the line up, but from what I’ve read it’s a completely different beer with different notes and tastes.

  24. Dan says:

    I love AmberBock. I tried it for the first time yesterday and in my opinion it sits up there with Leffe, Stella Artois and other fine European Beers.

    The hotel where I am staying at offers a complimentary happy hour and this was on tap along with the yucky Bud Light.

    The Amer Bock has a nice flavor to it with a refreshing after taste. What I like about this beer is that it goes well with pretty much any food.

    I had some breadsticks with hummus and roasted vegetables along with the snack mix. The Amber Bock took the edge off the salty snacks.

    Over all this beer is worth it and it beats Corona or other light beers in my opinion.

    If I could find a 40Oz bottle of this then that would be even better(:

  25. jsmith says:

    Nice review, just had my first Amer Bock today

  26. Robert says:

    I lived near Sea World in Orlando, FL when Busch still owned it. One of the biggest perks was the free beer sampling at the Hospitality House. I was able to experience a lot of types of beers that I would not have normally tried. Amber Bock was one of the ones that became one of my favorites because of that.
    Maybe Mark was referring to Bare Knuckle Stout when he said there was a stronger version of Amber Bock although I’ve never seen it anywhere but at a Busch park.

  27. Steve says:

    Sorry my American friends,
    We have tried year upon year to find a decent American Beer on our frequent visits to your great country, but the sad truth is…….it all sucks.
    Everything tastes ghastly and plasticky and its all chilled to within an inch of its life so that any flavour it may have once had, is killed off.
    Try some proper English real Ale (all natural ingredients) at cellar-cool temperature and hangovers will become a thing of the past (yes, really).

  28. camille says:

    Cannot get this beer in Alabama, have to drive 27 miles to crest view Florida, just for the only beer i enjoy drinking.

  29. Frank says:

    Though I have just now found this review, I love it. Amber bock is my cheaper dark beer of choice & my regular beer of choice. It is smooth with some good flavor. I love dark beers, but for an every-other-day beer, this is my choice. When I have the extra money I do go for dark ale’s. Really wish they would make a dark ale version of this. It may become my regular beer of choice!

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