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What is a “Bockfest”? Why Should I go? What is up with the Goats?

a drawing of a cartoon character

It is the time of year where we say goodbye to the chilly temperatures and welcome our long-lost friend: Spring. Spring is beautiful, flowers blooming, birds chirping, grass growing, and rich, fresh, delicious Bock Beer being tapped.

It is a tradition here in Cincinnati that upon the doorstep of spring we shall throw a party that is fit for a Goat, no not the Anthony Munoz kind of Goat, an actual physical Goat, Billy Goat to be specific. You have probably seen them, in fact a couple of them, Fiddlehead and Honey, are right at Fibonacci Brewing in Mt. Healthy, a stop on our tours.  They will be there, as will thousands of other folks, some dressed as Monks riding Segways or hauling a Giant Trojan Goat, some dancing in the streets, some just there for the truest Cincinnati testament to Spring: Beer.

How exactly did we get to the point where Cincinnati looks like a drunken Halloween 5 months later? The most Cincinnatian of ways of course: Beer. We have to step back to 1400 A.D. to truly understand what we are working with here. Bock beer was originated in a town called Einbeck Germany, they were known for brewing a rich, stronger, darker brew that would take a very long time in cool fermentation chambers to smooth out the strong liquid. They would brew this lager beer in September and November so it could ferment over the long Winter and called it “Einbeck” beer. In the Bavarian province from which it came the accent of the folks made it sound like “Einbock” Beer, which translates into “Billy Goat” (hence all the Goat-Floats, Goat posters, Goat coats, and actual physical Goats on the streets of Cincinnati). Eventually the word was shortened to just “Bock”. Cincinnati has a rich German heritage with thousands upon thousands pouring into this community in the 1830’s and 1840’s. The German culture is one of hard work, but also of good quality beer drinking which will be on full display this weekend all over as Bock takes over taps everywhere and at Bockfest Hall.

This weekend marks the 28th annual Bockfest celebration. What started off as a small community gathering for the folks of Over-The-Rhine has developed into one of the most unique and fun celebrations in the city. In 2008 Bockfest was almost snowed out. Since then each year a week prior, folks gather for a snowman effigy called “Precipitation Retaliation” over at Milton’s on Sycamore and Milton St. a neighborhood bar in the Prospect Hill part of Over-The-Rhine. Each year Bockfest paves the way for warmer weather with a special tent featuring 25 different local Bock beers on tap (Dopplebock, Bock, Weizenbock, Eisbock), pig roasts, live music, the crowning of the Sausage Queen, an eccentric and exciting Parade, and thousands of like-minded warm weather seeking, beer drinking folks.

Cincy Brew Bus has been a part of Bockfest for the past few years to help operate the Free Shuttle Service (Cincy Bock Bus) which has now expanded to over 20 different venues across the city that are also a part of the overall weekend celebration. It is truly an honor for us to be part of the event and it is really exciting we get to tour folks to so many different bars, restaurants, to and from Bockfest Hall on Moore Street. If you can’t find parking, just find a participating venue to park near and we will get you back and forth from 7pm to 1am.  Please make sure and drink responsibly. Funds raised for Bockfest go towards the Brewing Heritage Trail Non-Profit Organization which is working to clean up, repair, and beautify the Brewery District in Over-The-Rhine.

The Parade kicks off 6pm from Arnold’s Bar and Grill on 8th Street this Friday with tons of activities on Saturday and Sunday as well.

Here is a list of stops and participating venues so you can plan your city tour with us:

Shuttle Stop #1 – Bockfest Hall

Shuttle Stop #2 – Elder & Logan for
Dunlap Cafe and Samuel Adams Cincinnati Taproom

Shuttle Stop #3 – Race & 12th
Low SparkThe LackmanQueen City Radio, and Cobblestone OTR

Shuttle Stop #4 – Race & Court
Washington Platform Saloon & RestaurantQueen City Exchange

Shuttle Stop #5 – Walnut & Court
Kroger Kroger on the Rhine and Parking

Shuttle Stop #6 – Main & 8th
Arnold’s Bar and GrillTaqueria Mercado Cincinnati

Shuttle Stop #7 – Main & 12th
Below Zero LoungerhinehausJapps Since 1879The Hub OTRRosedale OTRGoodfellas Pizzeria – OTR

Shuttle Stop #8 – Broadway & 12th
Lucius Q3 Points Urban Brewery

Shuttle Stop #9 – Main & 12th
Mr. Pitiful’s OTRMOTR Pub

Shuttle Stop #10 – Sycamore & Milton
Milton’s The Prospect Hill Tavern

Map for Bockfest:…/data=!4m2!6m1!1s1lzFuXGL2k5-FpD4F2…

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