First Bockfest, then the world!

We’re just a week away from Bockfest, and it occurred to me that I’d neglected to write about something I think is going to be an awfully big deal this year (and into the future).  Friday marks the entry deadline for the Bloatarian Brewing League’s Bock Homebrew competition.

Bockfest 2009 Artwork by Jim Eiffler
Bockfest 2009 artwork by Jim Eiffler

Needless to say, it’s a worthy competition:  BJCP-sanctioned, judging at noon on Saturday at Bockfest Hall, opportunities to enter under seven different categories.  Bragging rights for winning such a high-profile event.  Yep, it’s a good competition.

Oh yeah, and Christian Moerlein is going to pick one of the entries from the Traditional Bock category to be the recipe for the 2010 edition of Hudepohl Bock.

You know, just a run-of-the-mill competition.

I’m not always plugged into the latest and greatest happenings in Cincinnati, but I can’t believe this hasn’t been a bigger deal.  I happened to hear about it from Christian Moerlein’s Greg Hardman at the Bockfest poster signing happy hour on the 12th.  He was talking about how well this year’s Hudy Bock turned out and the fact that it was brewed at BarrelHouse.  As he was talking about that I was trying to figure out how long it had been since any Hudy brand had actually been brewed in Cincinnati proper (2001?) and I almost missed it when he mentioned the Bockfest competition.

The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to know more about how such a thing came about.  I e-mailed Ray Snyder with the Bloatarians looking for a comment, and he generously responded with the following:

The Bloatarian’s consider it a sacred duty to cultivate and improve the beer culture wherever we go, but most importantly here in Cincinnati. Greg also shares this passion and is spearheading the effort to restore Cincinnati to it’s rightful place in the brewing world through his resurrection of the Cincinnati brands.

Last year the Bloats hosted the AHA national convention. I was tasked with brewing the commemorative beer. Preparations for this task began several years ago. I approached Rick Debarr at the Barrelhouse and he agreed to let us brew on his facilities. Since the Brewers Association had merged with the AHA the links between craft brewer and home brewer were growing and things like the GABF pro-am competitions started popping up.  Rick and I thought  it would be cool to invite all of the local craft brewers to participate. Greg jumped on board right away and that was the beginning of our relationship.

Around the same time the Bloats started the Bockfest competition at the encouragement of Greg and Mike Morgan*. We  participated in the parade for many years prior to that.

One evening last fall Greg and I were having a pint and he approached me with the idea of adding this incentive into the mix. I immediately agreed and thought it was a perfect fit. Many of the homebrewers in the area share the [G]erman heritage and last year the quality of the entries was exceptional.

How cool is that?

(On a somewhat related note, don’t forget the Precipitation Retaliation Happy Hour at Grammer’s Friday night.  A snowman immolation is scheduled for 6:30 PM)

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* Executive Director, Over-The-Rhine Foundation