Friars, goats and plenty of beer.
Can you believe it’s been 26 years of Bockfest?
One of Cincinnati’s quirkiest and most unique festivals is back this weekend March 2-4, celebrating the coming of Spring, Bock beer and Over-the-Rhine’s rich brewing history.
This year it’s bigger and better than ever with a couple new additions and all your favorite events. As always, we’re here to help break it all down.
First of all, what exactly is a “Bock” beer?
If you didn’t know, “Bock” roughly translates to Billy Goat in German. It was first brewed in Germany way back in the 14th century and often enjoyed during celebrations. It was also known for a having a higher nutritional content for those fasting during lent.
Today, there are several types of Bock beer you’ll find out and about at the festival
- Traditional Bock: sweet, malty and relatively strong.
- Maibock: sometimes called a Helles Bock or a Heller Bock, it’s a helles lager brewed with the strength of a traditional bock, but lighter in color with a slightly hoppier taste.
- Doppelbock: or “double bock”, this is a stronger version of the traditional bock beer first brewed by Friars in Munich.
- Eisbock: this one is harder to find. It’s a specialty beer made by partially freezing a doppelbock and removing the ice and water to make it more concentrated.
- Weizenbock: a bock brewed using wheat instead of barley.
Where can I try them?
All official venues will have drink and beer specials all weekend (see the full list here), but if you really wanna explore what Bock beer is all about you’ve gotta head to the center of the action: Bockfest Hall. It’s located at the Christian Moerlein Malthouse in Over-the-Rhine.
All weekend long, they’ll be pouring:
- Christian Moerlein Emancipator Dopplebock
- Hudepohl Festival Bock
- Schoenling Bock
- Taft’s Ale House Billy Goat Bock
There will also be special guest tappings all weekend from the following breweries:
- 13 Below Fluss Bock Traditional Bock
- 50 West Road Bock Maibock
- Fretboard Reverberator Bavarian Dopplebock
- Mad Tree Bockavelli
- March First
- Paradise Dopplebock
- Platform Bocket Science Traditional Bock
- Rhinegeist Vincent Van Goat Helles Bock
- Samuel Adams 390 Bock Maibock
- Westside West Side Bock Traditional Bock
Another great place for a wide variety of beers is Arnold’s Bar and Grill. They’ll be tapping 18 different bocks with some extremely rare tappings happening from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. on Saturday night. See the full beer list here.
Where is it happening?
Bockfest happens at more than a dozen bars and restaurants scattered across OTR. Check out our interactive map below.
What are the big events?
- Bockfest Hall is open from 5 p.m. – 1 a.m. at Christian Moerlein Brewery, 1619 Moore Street.
- Party at Arnold’s: Beer tapping at 1 p.m. followed by live music all night.
- The Bockfest Parade: Steps off at Arnold’s Bar and Grill at 6 p.m. Usually, lead by a goat pulling a keg and the reigning Sausage Queen along with the official parade marshal. It goes up Sycamore Street to 12th Street then over to Main Street ending at Bockfest Hall (Christian Moerlein Malt House) and ends with the blessing of the bock beer.
- After the Parade – Party Like A Bockstar: Happening at Bockfest Hall (Christian Moerlein Malt House) right after the blessing of the beer.
- Old St. Mary’s Fish Fry: This Bockfest fish fry is happening from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. in the Main Street parking lot (right along the Bockfest parade route). Sandwiches, sides, and drinks will be available. All proceeds from the Fish Fry benefit Old St. Mary’s Church
- Bockfest Afterparty: Stop by Revel in OTR from 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. for the official afterparty with a live DJ.
- Bockfest Hall is open from 10 a.m. – 1 a.m.
- Bockfest 5K: kicks off at Bockfest hall at 10 a.m.
- Beer and Bygone Days: 12 p.m. at Bockfest Hall hosting speakers, presentations, displays, authors, stein and breweriana collections, homebrewing demonstrations, and of course plenty of cold bock beer.
- The Craft Menagerie Indie Craft Market: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Arnold’s featuring dozens of local artists showing off their wares.
- Rare Bock Beer Tappings: 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. at Arnold’s. For the serious beer fan.
- 5 p.m. – Warped Wing Angel’s Envy Bourbon Barrel Aged Abominator Bock
- 6 p.m. – Braxton Peach Ignitor Bock
- 7 p.m. – Listermann’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Friar Bacon Smoked Bock
- 8 p.m. – Fifty West Brewing Black Forest Road Bock.
- Beard Baron Competition: 7:30 p.m. at Bockfest Hall. All facial hair enthusiasts compete to be the Bockfest Beard Baron.
- Crowning of the Sausage Queen: 9 p.m. at Bockfest Hall. In conjunction with the Beard Baron competition, the renowned (and sometimes notorious) Sausage Queen helps lead the Bockfest Parade by carrying a symbolic tray of Bockwurst sausage.
- Bockfest Hall is open from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
- Continental Sunday: All day at Bockfest Hall featuring family-friendly events.
- Little Links Pageant: Noon at Bockfest Hall. Little Links participants are invited to dress in their best “Welcome Spring” attire, from traditional German attire, goats, monks etc… Must be registered by 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 1st.
Check out a full list of events here and enjoy!