On Sunday, May 7, beginning at 11 a.m., Sly Fox Brewing Company will host its legendary Bock Fest and Goat Race at the Sly Fox Tastin’ Room in Pottstown. This annual rain-or-shine spectacle will feature one of the largest offerings of bock beers served by any brewery in the United States, including the release of Sly Fox’s seasonal Maibock.
Revelers will be able to enjoy live German oompah music, great food and the main event: live goat racing, featuring as many as 60 competitors, with the winner earning the honor of having the year’s festive Maibock named in his or her honor. In addition, a Jumbotron will take over the lush field neighboring the 30,000-square-foot brewery and broadcast the goat races.
“People always come up and ask me, ‘You aren’t seriously racing goats, are you?’ and the honest answer has remained the same since we started this crazy event in 2000: ‘Yes, that’s exactly what we’re doing!’” says brewmaster Brian O’Reilly. “Bock Fest started small, but today, it’s the kickoff to our summer season and something we look forward to all year round.”
Bock Fest is cash only and free to attend. All food and drink must be purchased with tickets, available on site. An ATM is located inside the Sly Fox Tastin’ Room, which opens its doors to the public during Bock Fest, and there will be a mobile ATM van in the parking lot.
Inside and at tents near the races, O’Reilly and his crew will pour an assortment of German-style beers, including Slacker Bock, Instigator Doppelbock, two Eisbocks and the year’s celebratory Maibock, to be tapped after it is christened in honor of the winning goat.
The brewery will also serve German brats, pretzels, veggie sandwiches and pizza, and vendors such as Stella Jeanne’s Festival Food, The Cow & the Curd and Weckerly’s Ice Cream will be on hand with their tastiest treats.
The first heat for the goat races starts at 2 p.m., and this “delightfully weird” event typically takes about 90 minutes. This year’s winner will join a long list of greats in the Sly Fox Goat Hall of Fame, including George (2000), Clover (2001), Ernie (2002), Nelly (2003), Weird Beard (2004), Savannah (2005), Han (2006), Sundae (2007), Jasper (2008), Dax (2009), Nelly (2010), Peggy (2011), Peggy (2012), Simon (2013), Jixxer (2014), Penny (2015) and Blue Hazel (2016). Peggy and Simon were crowd favorites and their victories were made even more impressive due to these goats only having three legs.
As soon as the races conclude, German rock-and-roller Alex Meixner will play his accordion to entertain the crowd for the first time in the event’s 17-year history. Meixner is a global icon and Grammy-nominated musician who gained national fame after recording the “One-Man Pep Band” commercial for Hormel Foods.
Listen to Meixner’s distinctive sounds while taking part in Masskrugstemmen, a traditional Bavarian bier stein holding contest where participants compete to see who can hold a 5-pound liter mug, filled with Sly Fox beer, for the longest period of time.
Bock Fest is a family-friendly event, with ample opportunities for children to mingle with the goats, get their faces painted, and meet Billy the Goat, the official mascot of Bock Fest.
331 Circle of Progress Drive, Phoenixville, (484) 300-4644, www.slyfoxbeer.com