The 10th Annual Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer

Goose Island w Jeff Sparrow and Pete Crowley at FOBAB


181 Barrel Aged Beers, 62 Breweries from 21 States. It is simply the standard for festival awesomeness in our city. The Festival of Wood And Barrel Aged Beers was the centerpiece to a weekend the likes of which I don’t think we have ever seen before. Breweries brought double what they typically bring to the event. The new venue – Bridgeport Arts Center was larger and more captivating than FOBAB’s previous home at Chicago Journeyman Plumbers Union Hall in West Loop. The Skyline Loft offered views of US Cellular Field as well as downtown Chicago…and then there was the beer.  Keith Lemcke-VP of  Siebel Institute said it best when we discussed the historical significance of using barrels to change the character of beer. Our proximity to Kentucky allows us access to distilleries where barrels are to experiment in ways that other cities don’t. Combine that with local, revered brewmasters like Pete Crowley, Greg Hall and others embracing these techniques and it resonates deeply into our beer culture.

FOBAB is our favorite party for a number of reasons. The biggest being it’s unparallelled taplist. Brewers fly in from all across the country to discuss their beers. Then they stay the entire weekend and let the good times roll at places like Haymarket, Piece and The Map Room. It’s also an Illinois Craft Brewers Guild event. An organization with over 40 Illinois Breweries and 30+ Associate Members.  You get to experience these beers with an audience unlike most events we attend.  Highlights for us included seeing Atlas and Solemn Oath take home medals in their festival debut.  The crowd raising a toast to John Hall for 25 years of craft brewing in Chicago was pretty righteous. I grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago so it’s always a treat to see Flossmoor Station win awards. Many people don’t know that that several former Flossmoor brewers now hold their own prominent positions in other craft breweries. Todd Ashman at (50/50), Rich Grant (Finch) and Matt Van Wyk (Oakshire) just to name a few.


Skyline Loft at The Bridgeport Arts Center


Mayan Gold from Jared Rouben at Goose was pretty magical, it was my first beer sample of the day.  A big, harmonious chocolate barleywine featuring Oaxacan chocolate hand crushed with Mexican vanilla bean that was aged 12+ months in Elijah Craig Bourbon Barrels.

We filmed a collaboration documentary for this event. Our pal Mark Skala is currently making video wizardry happen. The project is produced by my man Kent Weber from BeerFX and co-produced by Chicago Beer Geeks’ own Nik White (that’s me!!)





Goose Island Bourbon County Stout variations



Jared Rouben


untappd- drink socially

BJ from Pipeworks Brewing, Chicago




Here’s a look at the medal winners.

Category One: Classic Porter/Stout (12 entries)
Gold: Bourbon Stout, Oakshire Brewing (Eugene, Oregon)
Silver: Pretty Brown Eyes, Goose Island Clybourn (Chicago, IL)
Bronze: Rye Barrel Aged Fuel Coffee Stout, Lakefront Brewery (Milwaukee, WI)

Category Two: Strong Porter/Stout (21 entries)
Gold: Bourbon County Brand Stout, Goose Island (Chicago, IL)
Silver: Indignant, Haymarket Pub & Brewery (Chicago, IL)
Bronze: Acrimonious, Haymarket Pub & Brewery (Chicago, IL)

Category Three: Barleywine/Wheatwine (16 entries)
Gold: Fertile Crescent, Goose Island Wrigleyville (Chicago, IL)
Silver: King Henry, Goose Island (Chicago, IL)
Bronze: Bourbon Barrel Barleywine, Central Waters Brewing (Amherst, WI)

Category Four: Classic Styles no higher than 7 percent alcohol (11 entries)
Gold: Afternoon Delight, Sun King Brewing (Indianapolis, IN)
Silver: Barrel-Aged Grand Saison, Grand Teton Brewing (Victor, ID)
Bronze: Oak-Aged Monadnock Rye Ale, Atlas Brewing (Chicago, IL)

Category Five: Strong/Double/Imperial Pale Beer (21 entries)
Gold: Humidor IPA, Cigar City Brewing (Tampa, FL)
Silver: Ultramegahighfrequency, Solemn Oath Brewery (Naperville, IL)
Bronze: Rillo Rye P.A., Shoreline Brewery (Michigan City, IN)

Category Six: Strong/Double/Imperial Dark Beer (24 entries)
Gold: Imperial Schwartz, Flossmoor Station (Flossmoor, IL)
Silver: Pappy Fog, Sun King Brewing (Indianapolis, IN)
Bronze: Charkoota Rye, New Holland Brewing (Holland, MI)

Category Seven: Fruit Beer (14 entries)
Gold: Cherry Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout, Goose Island (Chicago, IL)
Silver: Ronaldo, Three Floyds Brewing (Munster, IN)
Bronze: Radth, Solemn Oath Brewery (Naperville, IL)

Category Eight: Experimental Beer (18 entries)
Gold: Track #8, the Lost Abbey (San Marcos, CA)
Silver: Barrel Aged Abraxas, Perennial Artisan Ales (Saint Louis, MO)
Bronze: Track #10, the Lost Abbey (San Marcos, CA)

Category Nine: Wild Beer (9 entries)
Gold: .357 Brett, Flossmoor Station (Flossmoor, IL)
Silver: Biere de Peach Barrel, New Belgium Brewing (Fort Collins, CO)
Bronze: Madame Rose, Goose Island (Chicago, IL)

Category Ten: Wild Acidic Beer (27 entries)
Gold: Track #9, the Lost Abbey (San Marcos, CA)
Silver: Cuvee de Bubba, Bear Republic Brewing (Cloverdale, CA)
Bronze: Eric’s Ale, New Belgium Brewing (Fort Collins, CO)

Best in Show:
Cherry Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout, Goose Island (Chicago, IL)

Best in Show, Runner-Up:
Track #8, the Lost Abbey (San Marcos, CA)



–photos courtesy of Sergio Salgado

A man of many talents, be sure to follow him on twitter and check out his website.



Beverage Consultant, Co-Host of the Chicago Beer Pass Podcast, The Neat Pour Podcast, Co-Founder and heartbeat of the Chicago Beer Geeks..@nkosio on twitter

One Comment:

  1. Great article. Great photography.
    Keep up the great work.

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