Bockfest in Cincinnati: Beer, Bockwurst, and Goats


When I was invited on a press trip to Cincinnati, Ohio for a beer festival called Bockfest, I thought it was would be the perfect opportunity to up my beer game. What I loved even more about the festival was the goat element, long story short, I have a thing for goats. The beer gets its name from Einbeck, Germany where it was originally made. Bavarians started calling Einbeck, “ein bock” due to their dialectic. In German, ein bock means “billy goat” and that’s how the goat became the mascot for the beer. The rich and malty lager comes in different varieties including: Eisbock, Maibock, Doppelbock, Genesee, Bokbier, and many more.


Bockfest has been going strong for 25 years in Cincinnati. It’s the largest bock beer festival in the United States. The three day fest is to celebrate bock beer, the beginning of Spring, and the German heritage that still thrives in the city. The festival kicks off at Arnold’s Bar with a parade led by a goat pulling a keg who is followed by some very interesting floats. The eclectic mix of people in the parade could include people in goat costumes, a Trojan goat, drag queens, monks who aren’t really monks, and so on. It’s always a surprise to see who will pop up in as part of the show. The parade makes its way to Bockfest Hall for the blessing of the bock beer. Then it’s on! Festivities and parties are copious for the next few days. There is also a lot of German entertainment filled with plenty of bockwurst, sauerkraut, and beer cheese. Basically, expect to gain a few pounds.


If a goat pulling a keg doesn’t excite you, then maybe you will want to go to Bockfest to see the crowning of the Sausage Queen and Beard Baron. Oh yes, there is royalty involved in the fest. The Sausage Queen competes in preliminary rounds in local bars and the big showdown happens at Bockfest. There is a talent competition not to be missed. As for the Beard Baron if you are into facial hair this will be your jam. Of course you can just go for the beer which is the star of the event. I tasted some wonderful beer while in Cincy. They are definitely keeping the beer tradition alive and well.


While I could go on and on about Bockfest, it’s one of those things that should be experienced in person. If you are a beer fan then you would really enjoy this celebration. The annual tradition is quirky and downright fun. You would also get to experience Cincinnati which is a city that just might surprise you.

For more information about travel to Cincinnati, visit


Share This: