Bockfest – Cincinnati’s Funkiest Beer Festival

There’s a lot of beer festivals that happen throughout the year. And while many are filled with a lot of great craft beer and are a lot of fun; few are as unique as Bockfest.

Many of you probably recognize the term Bock as a style of German lager (think maibock, helles bock, doppelbock, eisbock, etc.) but there’s also a festival calld Bockfest and Cincinnati hosts one of the largest.

Let’s learn about this 26 year long tradition and what makes it the “funkiest festival” in Cincinnati.

What Is Bock Beer

I like talking about beer styles a lot but since I want to focus on the festival, I’ll keep this part really short.

Originally brewed in the German town of Einbeck during the 14th century, bock is a malty, dark beer featuring very light hops. While the subcategories of this style can range in color, ABV and flavor; most will have a sweet malty flavor.

By the 17th century, it had moved into the Bavarian region where their accents made Einbeck sound like ein Bock which means “a billy goat”. For this reason, you’ll often see a goat represented on bock beer labels and at the Bockfest.

Bock beers are often associated with special events and as the primary nutrition for Bavarian Monks during fasting.

Now, we use the Bock style of craft beer to help celebrate coming out of winter and looking forward to spring.


Bockfest CincinnatiIn Cincinnati, Bockfest is a weekend long event that celebrates bock beer, Over-The-Rhine (OTR), German heritage and the coming of spring. This is their 26th year putting on the event.

Cincinnati Bockfest is March 2-4, 2018

If you aren’t from Cincinnati, then you need to know that Cincinnati is rich with German history. And one of the oldest German neighborhoods in Cincinnati is OTR

This area has seen amazing revitalization over the past decade. So there’s more and more to celebrate each year.

The festival isn’t tied to just one location either, there are numerous venues that participate in hosting events throughout the weekend.

Here’s a few highlights:

Sausage Queen & Beer Baron

It’s like a Queen and King but think German sausage and facial hair. Both titles are up for grabs each year so check out the details here.

The Sausage Queen even gets the honor of leading the Bockfest Parade.


Every great festival needs to kick off with a parade. But this isn’t your typical parade. There are no fire trucks but rather people in wild costumes marching through the streets of Cincinnati.

It starts at Arnold’s which is Cincinnati’s oldest bar and continues North into OTR, ending at the Christian Moerlein Malt House.

Check Out The Parade Route Here

Bockfest Hall

Christian Moerlein Malt HouseThe place to be for most of the action is Bockfest Hall. This is the primary location for all things Bock.

Located at the Christian Moerlein Brewery, you’ll find beer, food and music as well as opportunities to learn about the German heritage of the area and tour underground lagering cellars.

Event Schedule

The official Bockfest website breaks down each day’s activities. There’s something for everyone including music, dinners, a brunch and much more.

If you want a family friendly setting, check out Sunday’s activities.

Again, the festival is spread over 3 days and much of Over-The-Rhine so there’s bound to be something you’ll enjoy.

Bockfest 5K

Bockfest 5KWorried about consuming too many calories at Bockfest? Then make sure you sign up for the Bockfest 5K.

Run or walk this event on Saturday morning at 10am then spend the rest of the day celebrating your accomplishment.

More Bockfest 5K Details Here

The Official Beer Of Bockfest

Christian Moerlein EmancipatorYou can’t have a beer festival without some beer. Local brewery, Christian Moerlein, is heavily involved in the promotion and execution of this event – including being the hub for all of the activities.

They also have the official beer; Emancipator.

Emancipator is an annual release for Christian Moerlein and a beer that I’ve enjoyed on many occasions.

This Doppelbock is rich with lots of malt that give it a caramel flavor. Being a Doppelbock, it comes in at 7% with just 17.5 IBUs.

In addition to being the official beer of Bockfest, this is also the first year they’ve canned it – in prior years it was bottled.

If you can’t make it to Bockfest, you can still find Emancipator at retail stores throughout the Cincinnati area. So grab some of this and celebrate Bockfest no matter where you might be.

Additional Bockfest Resources

Want to learn more about Bockfest?

This event is just as much about the city’s heritage as it is about having fun. So learn something new and prepare for a great time.

Why You Need To Go To Bockfest

There are a lot of events in Cincinnati but few are as unique and beer focused as Bockfest.

From the opening parade to the wide variety of venues participating to the music, there’s bound to be some part of the festival that appeals to you.

If you aren’t familiar with Bock beer, I highly recommend grabbing some (may I suggest Emancipator?) and get to know it. It’s a great beer to drink as we celebrate coming out of the deep cold of winter.

What’s Your Favorite Part Of Bockfest?

*Featured Image Courtesty Of

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