Sometimes, one of a beer’s most distinctive characteristics is its history. Case in point: Paulaner’s doppelbock, Salvator. Back in ye old seventeenth century, when German friars from the mendicant order of Francis of Paola were doing all the brewing, they apparently created the first doppelbock (double bock) and dubbed it “Salvator”, Latin for “Savior”. This name was then used generically for the beer until years later, when the Munich brewery became a secular operation and acted to protect their product. But because of Salvator’s popularity–almost as a sign of respect–most doppelbocks since have used the suffix “-ator” in their name. And while the Salvator of today isn’t the same as it was 300+ years ago, it still remains a prime example of the style it pioneered.

Doppelbocks are perhaps the cream of the bock family, and as a style could be dubbed an “anti-IPA”: everything IPAs or double IPAs possess in hop power and ale complexity, doppelbocks do in malt strength and a cleaner, simpler lager body. Salvator pours a great amber color with a lively carbonated head, and smells like what you’d expect from a loaf of caramel toffee bread (does such a thing exist?). Similar to a donut I suppose; pungent sweetness you can almost taste through your nose, though not quite syrupy. When it hits your tongue, it’s all malt: roasted malt, toasted malt…and more roasty toasty malt. I catch flavors of caramel, toffee, maple, honey, molasses, and honestly…something I can only describe as a hint of cornbread. Strange, but yummy. Sweetness all the way through, and a warming sensation from the alcohol that coats your mouth and throat somewhat as it goes down. I’d describe it as medium-bodied and somewhat “chewy”, although it still manages to maintain a lager crispness and nice carbonation throughout.

Many thanks to my buddy Dave for providing me with the official Salvator glassware a few years back. Although it took me a while to finally fill it with the appropriate liquid, I’m glad I took the plunge and learned something interesting in the process. If you’re in the mood for something simple, strong, and oh so sweet, look no further.

ABV: 7.9%

Grade: B+