Christian Moerlein Creates Schutzenfest Beer
Brewed in Over-the-Rhine with special yeast brought in from Germany, the beer debuted this spring and is available on tap at the Christian Moerlein Malt House Taproom, as well as at restaurants and retailers all over region.
Of course, it will be served up at Schützenfest this weekend.
Running from Friday – Sunday, when the Schützenfest King and Queen will be crowned, the festival at Kolping Center (Cincinnati) is a celebration of family, fun, and all things German.
It features German beer and food, dancing and music, with both indoor and outdoor components including indoor, air-conditioned food areas and an outdoor shaded picnic grove, festival ten, and beergarden. One of the Kolping Society’s largest events open to the public, it’s also a time to celebrate the history of the local and international Kolping Society, an organization founded to help strengthen Catholic families through fellowship and fun.
Schützenfest (“marksman fest” – the word rhymes with “foot,” not “boot”) is exactly what it sounds like. On Sunday adult male members will vie to shoot a carved wooden eagle from a high perch in a contest that takes several hours and ends in an outdoor crowning ceremony attended by representatives of other German-American societies in ceremonial costume.
The event, supposedly based on the legend of a marksman who defended a child and village from an eagle attack, was first held in Cincinnati in 1866.
The beer is a natural fit for Christian Moerlein, which has specialized in reviving local beers dating before Prohibition, and showcasing local events, especially those with local roots. Kölsch is a kind of beer brewed in Germany’s Cologne area, which was the home of Kolping’s founder, Fr. Adolph Kolping.
The beer debuted at a special ceremony at the Kolping Society on May 18th that included a ceremonial blessing and tapping of a keg, as well as performances by the Enzian German dancers and Kolping’s Sängerchor.
“It’s a great honor to be part of such a traditional Germanic festival — especially one that has been here for 150 years,” Eric Baumann, Vice President of Brewing for Christian Moerlein Brewing Company. “We want this to be an approachable beer for everybody, and for it to be something more unique than your traditional German lager.
“Kölsch is one of the oldest, most traditional German ales. You’re going to get a really nice, lager-like ale. We use a traditional German Kölsch yeast – so we actually brought in a new yeast strain for the beer. This beer is all about letting the yeast and malt shine through so you get a crisp, clean-drinking German ale.”
Cincinnati artist Jim Effler painted the illustration used for the beer’s packaging. Designer of the “Grain to Glass” on the north wall of the Moerlein Brewery in OTR, Effler has illustrated all 21 Cincinnati Bockfest posters and 14 labels for Christian Moerlein beers.
The painting features a man, wearing lederhosen and carrying a gun and a glass of beer, leading the parade to be crowned king. One of the women in the parade carries a Kolping banner. The Kolping beergarden arch and a carved wooden eagle
Beer art courtesy Jim Effler; photos courtesy Kolping Cincinnati. For a gallery of photos, click here.
This year’s Schutzenfest will feature rides, games, a Sunday soccer event hosted by FC Cincinnati, and more. For information and a complete schedule, click here.
For more Catholic events, see our Events page.
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