The “Baaaaa” Beer Festival

Bock Bier
Saturday afternoon, we headed down to the southern tip of the old city center to take part in the annual Bock Beer Festival. Held at Ledig Erf each year, the three-day festival is a great opportunity to try a variety of mostly local bock beers, the traditional autumn beers. In all, there were 22 beers from which to choose and each one was surprisingly different. All of the ones we tried were lekker!

Ledig Erf Bock Bier Festival

Last year we met up with Amy in NL and her husband, and this year our group expanded to also include A Georgia Peach Abroad. The more the merrier! Just as our group expanded this year, it seemed like everyone else’s group expanded, as well. Despite the overcast weather — although fortunately there was no rain — the crowd on Saturday afternoon was bigger than we remembered it being last year.

When you’ve got 22 beers to choose from, it can be difficult to decide on which ones to try, since we certainly weren’t going to be trying them all. Our initial plan for the day was to start with the ones with the oddest names. As a result, we tried the Lipreader (Butcher’s Tears), the Slobberbock, and considered the Maximus Bock, but got sidetracked instead by the Steenbrugge Abdijbok.

One thing I did remember from last year were the horned creatures wandering through the crowds. Last year, they were a bit more “woodsy“; this year they had a steampunk vibe. When I first spotted them this year, one was having a baaaaaaa-off with a young boy. However, when they spotted me and my camera, they seemed a bit startled. You know how woodland creatures can be skittish.

They Startle Easily

Still, after a few tentative sniffs, they soon realized I was friendly and then it was all smiles! I didn’t even have to lure them in with a tasty Slobberbock!

Friendly Creatures

Bock Beer Festival

Laughs on Ledig Erf
Saturday was a social, fun day for us. After attending the Occupy Utrecht protest, we later headed to Ledig Erf on the southern tip of the old city center, in order to attend the Bockbier festival, with numerous autumn bock beers on offer. Best of all, having mentioned the festival here a couple of days before, Amy from amyin.nl got in touch with me and suggested we all meet up.

Oudegracht

Amy and company had gotten there first and snagged a nice table on the bridge over the Oudegracht. We met up with them and then headed in to take advantage of all the great beers. The way it was set up, you paid €3 for your own glass (although if you returned the glass at the end of the day, you could get your €3 back). You also bought “munt”, plastic tokens that you used for the beers. The beers were also €3 each.

Bocks on Tap
(I happened to notice the man looking toward me in the photo after I’d taken the shot, and we exchanged smiles. Everyone was quite friendly.)

The beers were available on tap inside the main tent. There was a whole wall of beers to choose from, and you simply got in line in the area in front of the beer you wanted, based on the signs hanging above. Lines moved quickly, so it wasn’t much of a problem. We tried De Leckere’s Rode Toren, Utrechtse Bok, Eem Bok, La Chouffe, Steenbrugge, and maybe Jopen. They were all really nice, with definite differences.

One of the more unusual parts of the day came as we were walking along Twijnstraat heading for the festival itself. As we walked, we suddenly started seeing these strange horned creatures. It might not have been so unnerving if we hadn’t also seen a guy shortly before that who was definitely making me think the zombie invasion might actually be starting. When I started to pass the second horned creature, it began pawing the ground, while looking right at me!

Leaf Eater

We saw them again wandering around the festival itself, and this one — the one who was pawing the ground — does seem to prefer leaves to human flesh, I was relieved to see!

We really had a good time, enjoying excellent company, lots of laughs, and lots of great beer. It’s an annual event, so I definitely recommend checking it out next year if you like good autumnal bock beers.

Bokbier Festival Glasses