An early spring seasonal, this doppelbock from Railway City Brewing Company in St. Thomas, Ontario pours with a creamy head that leaves ample lace and settles as a thick collar atop the dark brown and ruby-coloured brew. Sham-Bock smells mainly of dark fruits such as figs, dates and raisins, with notes of chocolate and butterscotch becoming more apparent as it warms.
The taste of Sham-Bock has a surprisingly strong bitterness for the style, though it is far from overpowering against the lager’s formidable sweetness. Flavours of red grape juice, chocolate, honey and coffee are met with a wallop of maple syrup that brings a mineral-like sharpness along with its inherently sweet tone. A full body and modest amount of carbonation yield a grainy and mildly viscous mouthfeel, while the lager finishes quite dry, leaving hints of chocolate syrup and lemon juice behind in the aftertaste.
The label on bottles of Sham-Bock is white and green with a yellow, Gaelic-style wordmark and the image of a four leaf clover. You will find a list of ingredients and best before date on the side of the label and an included card has a description of the doppelbock style.
Sham-Bock is a unique offering amongst Ontario lagers thanks to the inclusion of maple syrup. Its sharpness reminds me more of a maibock, but it still carries the rich malts and dark fruit characteristics you would expect from a doppelbock. I enjoyed it most alongside sharp & earthy cheese, kettle chips, fresh bread and pulled pork.
Sham-Bock is traditionally available at the brewery during February and March in 500 mL bottles and it made its LCBO debut at select stores in February of 2014, packaged in 650 mL foil-topped bottles like the one pictured above.
Region: Ontario, St. Thomas
Brewery: Railway City Brewing Company
Format Purchased: 650 mL
Alcohol Content: 6.8%