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Bock Beer Means Spring is on the Way!

Submitted by on March 1, 2010 – 11:05 pmNo Comment

bockfest2010No, you’re not hallucinating, Road Trips Foodies! It’s time for bock beer festivals! Bock is a type of strong lager beer synonymous with Lent in Germany. First brewed (probably) in the 14th century in the Hanseatic town of Einbeck, Germany, the original bocks were dark beers, brewed from high-colored malts. They were developed by Roman Catholic monks, who needed a beer high in calories and nutrients to get them through the fasting required during Lent. Now, of course (especially in areas with large concentrations of German immigrants and their descendants), bock beer season is as good an excuse as any for a party!

One of the biggest is this weekend’s BockFest in Cincinnati, Ohio. In the 1800s, Cincinnati was one of America’s most prolific brewing cities. Cincinnatians drank more beer per capita than any city in the country, and the heavily German neighborhood known as Over-the-Rhine was at one point home to more than 18 breweries. A tradition developed among the breweries to release all of their bock beer on the same day.

Everything this year begins on Friday (March 5, 2010). Starting at Arnold’s — Cincinnati’s oldest saloon — the Bockfest parade will be led by a goat pulling a keg and the reigning Sausage Queen. Starting at 5:30 p.m., it travels up Main Street and ends with the blessing of the bock beer. The parade is led this year by Honorary Parade Marshall Manfred Schnetzer, Vice-President of the German-American Citizens League, and his wife Regina.

It ends at BockFestHall, sponsored by the Over-the-Rhine Foundation this year. It’ll be in the historic Kauffman Brewery at 1621 Moore Street. All weekend long there will be live music, special historical and cultural exhibits and events, as well as lots of Christian Moerlein Emancipator Dopplebock, Hudy Bock, Schoenling Bock and great German food by Mecklenburg Gardens and (inexplicably) Taste of Belgium.

BockFestHall reopens at 10 a.m. Saturday (March 6, 2010), where there will be special exhibits all day long. Cincinnati’s Brewing History author Sarah Stephens and German-Americana: Selected Essays author and German-American Citizens League of Greater Cincinnati President Dr. Don Heinrich Tolzmann will be available to talk about Over-the-Rhine history and sign copies of their books.

It opens again at 11 a.m. Sunday (March 7, 2010), after a traditional German Mass at Old St. Mary’s. There will also be German cultural and historical events presented by organizations such as the German-American Citizens League of Greater Cincinnati, including the Enzian Tanz Gruppe dancers, and the Donauschwaben Schuhplattler dancers, as well as authentic German music.

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