Sly Fox Brewing has been around since 1995 and is never one to stick with what everyone else is doing. For example, it was ahead of the game with canning as the first craft brewery in the mid-Atlantic to put in a canning line in 2006 (eventually earning the first-ever Great American Beer Festival medal awarded to a canned craft beer in 2007). The brewery has earned GABF medals virtually every year since, and is widely recognized as among the region’s best and most enduring craft breweries.
What else, what else … oh yeah, they also host an annual goat race.
Sly Fox Brewing Co. will be hosting its legendary Bock Fest and Goat Race on May 7 in Pottstown, Pa. This annual event will feature one of the largest single 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 kick-off to our summer season and something we look forward to all year round. We can’t wait to wash down a delicious bratwurst or two with some great bock beers and cheer on this year’s crew of goat contenders.”
The first heat for the goat races starts promptly at 2 p.m., and typically takes about 90 minutes, with as many as 60 registered goats competing for the title. Sly Fox representatives will crown the Goat Race Champion at the conclusion; their Maibock beer will be named in honor of the winning goat and ceremoniously tapped for all to enjoy.
Goat race history
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), 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 (winner will receive a $100 gift card and bragging rights). Bock Fest is a family-friendly event, with ample opportunities for children to mingle with the goats and get their faces painted to match their favorite goat racer – and meet Billy the Goat, the official mascot of Bock Fest.