Getting the Goat


July 11, 2015 Ephemera Society

Bock Beer

Written by Moira F. Harris

Bock beer, like Pilsen, is said to bear the name of its birth community, with a difference.

The small town of Einbeck, in northern Germany, had been brewing one style of beer. Brewers of Munich in the south heard “Einbeck,” as “ein Bock” or a Goat. As beck became Bock, goats entered the iconography of this style of beer.

Bock Beer

These labels, a few of many available, come from breweries in Minnesota, Michigan, California, and Texas.


Bock has often been brewed in the spring so there became sub-styles of this beer: Maibock, Doppelbock, and even, Tripelbock, depending on the color, the ingredients used, and the alcohol content. Bock beers have long been brewed in Germany, but became popular in America with the advent of craft brewing and its stress on new and often stronger tastes in beer.

After World War II, necessary changes have come in beer label design.

Brewers now need to indicate ingredients used, taxes paid, and methods of redeeming glass bottles on their labels. Different types of beer called for different label designs. Bock beers usually include the image of a goat in the design; either just a head with the ample horns of an Alpine beast or a goat standing on a mountainous crag.

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