FOBAB 2016 Recap: Favorites & Winners

UNIVERSITY VILLAGE, CHICAGO

FOBAB 2016 Recap: Favorites & Winners

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The unseasonably warm weather made waiting in line outside of the UIC Forum much easier than last year, for folks looking to get their hands on the country's best that barrel-agers had to offer. FoBAB 2016 brought out 422 beers (...meads or ciders), from 179 different breweries, broken out across 12 different categories. Enough to please virtually any beer nerd's palate. And trust us, there were plenty present–clamoring for the tequila-inspired sours, to the oak-infused pales, to the bourbon- and absinthe-barreled stouts. It was all there. We're proud to say 2016 also saw our very own collaboration with Burnt City, 13 DeKoven, on tap at the festival.

This year's fest, held again on the campus of the University of Illinois-Chicago and organized by the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, was in its 14th year. We went and tasted as much as we could, in order to share our favorites with you, as well as a list of the medal winners in each category. Below are a few brews from the 422 offered that stood out to us.


THR 2016 FAVORITES

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Arclight Brewing Co. (Watervliet, MI)
Soursmith Oude Bruin (Flanders in wine barrels)

Bells Brewery (Kalamazoo, MI)
TC Whiskey Jupiter (Imperial brown in Bourbon barrels)

Breakside Brewery (Portland, OR)
Next Thursday (Pino Noir brett blend)

Firestone Walker (Paso Robles, CA)
Parabajava (Russian imperial stout in Bourbon barrels)

Half Acre Beer Co. (Chicago, IL)
Orin (Imperial brown in Bourbon barrels)

Lake Bluff Brewing (Lake Bluff, IL)
Kosmonaut (Russian imperial stout in whiskey barrels)

Spiteful Brewing (Chicago, IL)
BA Malevolence Chocolate Caliente (Spiced Russian imperial stout in Bourbon barrels)

Transient Artisan Ales (Bridgman, MI)
Foeder 2: Electric Boogaloo with Apricot (Wild sour in oak foeder)

Trinity Brewing (Colorado Springs, CO)
Red Swingline (Wild sour in French oak)

WeldWerks Brewing Co. (Greeley, CO)
Peach Climacteric (Wild sour in Bourbon barrels)

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Finally, we'd like to congratulate all of the winners at this year's event. With the number of entries in each category, it's certainly a commendable feat to take home a FoBAB medal.

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BEST IN SHOW

Listermann Brewing Co. + Triple Digit Brewing Co. (Cincinnati, OH)  
Chickow! (Imperial Brown w/ hazelnuts, in Bourbon barrels)

RUNNER UP

Destihl Brewing (Bloomington, IL)
Dosvidanya (Russian Imperial Stout in Bourbon barrels)

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STRONG PORTER STOUT

GOLD / Destihl Brewing Dosvidanya Rye
SILVER / Goose Island Clybourn – Impervious
BRONZE / Lake Bluff Brewing Co. – Kosmonaut

SPECIALTY STRONG PORTER STOUT

GOLD / 5 Rabbit Cerveceria – Inigo Montoya with Hazelnut
SILVER / Lionstone Brewing – Burnin' Love
BRONZE / 18th Street Brewery – Vanilla Hunter

BARLEYWINE / WHEATWINE

GOLD / Pipeworks Brewing Co. – The Murderous
SILVER / Milwaukee Brewing Co. – Prestige Worldwide Barleywine
BRONZE / Spiteful Brewing – Belligerent Bob Barleywine

CLASSIC BEER STYLE

GOLD / Horse Thief Hollow Brewing Co. – Hilltop Weizenbock
SILVER / Wild Onion Brewery – Bourbon Barrel Aged Jack Stout
BRONZE / Revolution Brewing – SmOAKed

STRONG PALE

GOLD / Scorched Earth Brewing Co. – Exiled Angel
SILVER / Milwaukee Brewing Co. – Louie's Resurrection
BRONZE / Sierra Nevada – Trip in the Woods Biere de Garde

STRONG DARK

GOLD / Bell's Brewery – TC Jupiter
SILVER / Half Acre Beer Co. – Orin
BRONZE / Free Will Brewing Co. – Ella

FRUIT BEER

GOLD / Werk Force Brewing – Beautifully Broken
SILVER / Alter Brewing Co. – King's Blood
BRONZE / Sierra Nevada – Barrel-Aged Wheatwine with Lemon

SPECIALTY/EXPERIMENTAL

GOLD / Listermann Brewing Co. + Triple Digit Brewing Co. – Chickow!
SILVER / Lakefront Brewery – Lakefront Spiced Winter Lager 
BRONZE / Excel Brewing Co. – Mint Julep

WILD BEER/BRETT

GOLD / Hailstorm Brewing Co. + Transient Artisan Ales – Agnitio
SILVER / Smylie Brothers Brewing Co. – Who The Funk is Brett Pulver?
BRONZE / Hopewell Brewing Co. – Best Day

WILD BEER/SOUR

GOLD / Free Will Brewing Co. – Olly
SILVER / Grand Teton Brewing Co. – Grand Teton American Sour 2015
BRONZE / Two Brothers Brewing Co. – Phenomenomnom

WILD BEER/SOUR with FRUIT

GOLD / Arclight Brewing Co. – Soursmith Kriek
SILVER / Port Brewing Co./The Lost Abbey – Framboise de Amorosa
BRONZE / Transient Artisan Ales – Foeder 2: Electric Boogaloo with Apricot

CIDER/PERRY/MEAD

GOLD / Angry Orchard – Understood in Motion #1
SILVER / Seattle Cider Co. – Red Wine Barrel Aged Berry
BRONZE / Seattle Cider Co. – Wild Fermented Heirloom

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Several colorful pitchers of barrel-aged beer lined up and ready for pouring.

Several colorful pitchers of barrel-aged beer lined up and ready for pouring.

Jester King's Spon 4, a 'method gueuze', was crafted with the aided eye of Cantillon's brewers.

Jester King's Spon 4, a 'method gueuze', was crafted with the aided eye of Cantillon's brewers.

Fruit Beer, one of 12 categories represented at FoBAB 2016.

Fruit Beer, one of 12 categories represented at FoBAB 2016.

Burnt City x The Hop Review's collaboration, 13 DeKoven–a Belgian Strong inspired by the Great Fire.

Burnt City x The Hop Review's collaboration, 13 DeKoven–a Belgian Strong inspired by the Great Fire.

The Wild Sours & Cider/Mead room had plenty of pleasant surprises this year.

The Wild Sours & Cider/Mead room had plenty of pleasant surprises this year.

Seattle Cider Co. collects a Silver & a Bronze in the Cider/Mead/Perry category.

Seattle Cider Co. collects a Silver & a Bronze in the Cider/Mead/Perry category.

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Photography by Nick Costa.