Bockfest 2017 is now over! One of my favorite happenings in Cincinnati, I try to make a big deal out of it and promote it to my friends so they might consider attending. For myself, I have been going down for five years now. For those five years, I have been volunteering with a good friend of mine to lead tours through Over The Rhine and talk about the wonderful history going back to the early 19th century that shaped the neighborhood and made it the interesting place it is today. We typically do this on Saturday morning and then spend the afternoon drinking all of the really great beers that they have on tap. For whatever reason, people still fear coming down here because of its reputation for crime. However, the area has changed drastically and is continuing to change as well.
This year might have been one of the best tours we’ve ever given. I honestly think this is because our group was under twenty people and both of us knew the script in and out. Our particular tour was known as the Volks tour, and we took people through OTR talking about the impact Germans had on the area and then going down into the Crown Brewery lager cellars. Below are some pictures showing our tour group in that sub-basement, and exploring the tunnel that brewers used more than a century ago to move beer across the street to the bottling plant in order to save on taxes. Remember, tax evasion is illegal but tax avoidance is not!
The reason we celebrate Bockfest is to enjoy Bock beer. Bock beer is what the monks of the Old World drank to get them through their 40 days of fasting through Easter. Because Bock beer would have represented the dregs of the beer barrels as winter ended and the new growing season was starting, it tended to have the most sediment in it hence the most nutritional value for the monks. This is why it is also so very dark and malty.
Bockfest is also a time to celebrate Cincinnati’s weirdness. Below is a man we met with a killer beard. It was so good I had to give him one of my beer tickets!
Bockfest also crowns the Sausage Queen, a pageant all of its own full of oddities and goofballness. This year’s winner was very nice and we got to share a beer together. At this point I’m buzzing pretty good.
Finally, the beers! Out of the many I tried, here are a few. The top beer (darker of the two) is one of the many Bock beers that they sell at the event. It is the Hudepohl Festival Bock and is very good. Schoenling Bock is the other popular beer and typically sells out pretty quickly. The bottom one is a Christian Moerlein Pacer, a very good American Pale Ale. Christian Moerlein beers are featured at the event and many can be found.
Overall I had fun and wish I could have stayed later but had to be at a birthday party that evening. It does always seem to go that way though, always on the move on some weekends and zero plans on others. Oh well, it was nice to get out! Although I’m not sure I’ll lead another tour next year, I will most definitely come down and visit and have a Bock beer or two.