This is not a particularly interesting development, but it reminded me of the few short years in the 1990s when there actually was a very good Lone Star Bock.
Released in 1991 and called Lone Star Natural Bock, it was brewed in accordance with the Reinheitsgebot, the German Purity Law of 1516. So, no corn or rice or any other adjuncts or shortcuts were used. It was ”a blending of three roasted barley malts, hops and water, and that's all.”
I remember that it was a little maltier, and so, slightly sweeter than the traditional Bavarian bock. It was also a little lighter and less alcoholic; well-suited for the market. It was a high quality product that made for an excellent session beer, especially as it was priced about the same as the mainstream national beers. It was certainly a far better beer than Shiner Bock, which is not saying much at all, but also the efforts from Anheuser-Busch and even Celis. The Celis Pale Bock was a mild Belgian brown ale that was a very well-made beer, but not a bock, nor did it taste really anything like one.
The Bock from Lone Star was the clear winner in the regional bock stakes back then. Having the Lone Star name attached to it probably turned off many potential beer drinkers who would have otherwise enjoyed the beer. However, it did make it on tap at Valhalla, the graduate student bar at Rice, whose taps have been a barometer of beers possessing the combination of flavor and relative affordability. Conversely, that Lone Star Bock was made according to the Reinheitsgebot meant that it probably had too much body – and flavor – for regular Lone Star drinkers. The cost of the better ingredients and reasonable price point likely made the margins rather thin, too, and Lone Star’s efforts did not last.
It was an admirable experiment, and an enjoyable one, too, for many Texas beer lovers. Lone Star Natural Bock was proof that a large brewer – if one with a poor reputation – can brew excellent products only if it chose to.