Thursday, January 21, 2016

NuLu Bock Fest and my theory for the origin of an idea.

Photo credit.

NuLu's having a Bock Fest.

It might help to know that in the Germanic milieu, Bock often is symbolized by a goat, which explains the notion of blessing goats and beer together.

Billy Goat, what? NuLu Bock Fest will feature goat races, beer and more, by Melissa Chipman (Insider Louisville)

On Saturday, March 26, the neighborhood is reviving that tradition during the new NuLu Bock Fest, a beer festival with music and goat races. Apparently bock beer festivals also were a tradition in Louisville that fell by the wayside during Prohibition. Organizers of the festival were able to trace the bock beer fest tradition back to 1858.

Bock beer is a low-hop style of lager originating in Germany.

NuLu being NuLu, media coverage has tended to be breathless, as though it is a solemn contractual obligation to trace all creativity and innovation back to a geographical construct that's barely existed for a decade.

I really hate being a squeaky wheel -- wait, no I don't, so kindly permit me to suggest that the germ of this Bock Fest idea can be attributed to local freelance writer Kevin Gibson's suggestions during Mayor Greg Fischer's local beer study group in the summer of 2014.

Here is a paragraph from the group's final draft in July, 2014.

Reconnect Louisville with its brewing heritage. Many in the city are unaware of the rich history of brewing in Louisville, and the rich heritage in beer culture in general. Louisville was once not just a thriving brewing hub, but also filled with lush, German beer gardens and beer celebrations that can and should be revisited today to help promote local brewing culture.

I attended the meetings. At the time, Kevin was pushing his book Louisville Beer: Derby City History on Draft, and I distinctly recall him mentioning "heritage," "German" and "Bock" multiple times. Oktoberfest was in the conversation, too.

Make no mistake: I'm a Bock kind of guy, and once a beer list for this fest is released, I'll pass it along in this forum. I'll almost surely attend.

However, in the short history of NuLu Bock Fest, I've not seen Kevin's name listed. Intellectual property rights matter tome, and perhaps this is just an oversight. Maybe at least they'll buy him a beer, or something.

Here's a review I wrote on Louisville Beer: Derby City History on Draft.

ON THE AVENUES: Louisville Beer, then and now ... and cheers to Rotary.

The strength of Kevin Gibson’s narrative lies in his ability to convey the way it felt to drink beer in Louisville at various times in the past. Details valued today mattered less back then. Being a beer drinker in Louisville in the year 1890 was not about checking-in, or chasing, trading and hoarding.



Margaret Smith said...

I have never met nor heard of Kevin Gibson, but I was the one that pitched the idea of goat races and Bock Fest to NuLu. I would be happy to let you in on how this whole crazy idea came about and tell you about everyone involved. It has truly been a community effort here in NuLu. If you feel like chatting, email me at

The New Albanian said...

That's good to know. As recounted above, it's an idea Kevin discussed at meetings of the mayor's study group on brewing. Now I know that it doesn't preclude the same idea arising spontaneously from another source. Perhaps I'm too suspicious of politicians an their appointees. Thanks for clearing this up.