FOBAB 2018: Favorites & Winners

UNIVERSITY VILLAGE, CHICAGO

FoBAB ‘18 Recap: Favorites & Winners

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Once again, snow fell on the Chicago weekend affectionately referred to as ‘FoBAB’–where the 16th annual Festival of Wood & Barrel-Aged Beer was hosted at the corner of Halsted & Roosevelt. And it was all barrel-aged all weekend; perfect for keeping warm on such a chilly, gray November Friday and Saturday.

Folks looking to get their hands on the country's best of all that is barrel-aged made their way to the University of Illinois-Chicago Forum on November 16th and 17th. There, they were greeted by FoBAB 2018's 400 beers, ciders and meads from 213 different breweries (up from 206 in 2017). Split out across 12 different categories (up from 11 last year – back in the mix was the 'Classic Beer Style' category).

Twenty Eighteen saw Illinois winning big, with 16 medals across the 12 categories, as well as ‘Best in Show: Runner-up’, taken by Logan Square’s Hopewell Brewing Co. right here in Chicago. 

This year's #FoBAB–the crown jewel of the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild–held many surprises, and saw plenty of first-time medal winners, surprises and a wildly impressive lineup overall. While we saw more no-show entries than we’ve noticed in previous years, what did make it for sampling was some of the best across the board that we can recall. It was wild to think that so many of the memorable and attention-grabbing beers we tasted didn’t medal, simply because the competition was so vast. Hats off, to the barrel-aged beer makers out there. Things’re certainly looking up.

Below are a few brews from the 400 offered that made an impression on us–as well as a list of the winners in each category.


 

THR'S 2018 FAVORITES

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Bottle Logic Brewing (Anaheim, CA)
Fundamental Observation – Bourbon barrel-aged stout blend with Madagascar vanilla

Casa Agria Speciality Ales (Oxnard, CA)
Huerta – Pinot noir barrel-aged saison with apricots

Blackberry Farm Brewery (Walland, TN)
Barrel Series Brett Belgo IPA – Brett Belgian IPA aged on French oak wine barrels

Hopewell Brewing Co. (Chicago, IL)
Crudités – Dryhopped wild saison blend

Horus Aged Ales (Oceanside, CA)
Goodbye to Beauty – Golden sour ale aged in red wine barrels with fresh nectarines

Indeed Brewing Co. (Minneapolis, MN)
Wooden Soul: Patchwork – Brett red ale with blackberries, raspberries and blueberries

Lil Beaver Brewery (Bloomington, IL)
Rye Whole Lotta Wonderful – Rye barrel-aged stout with cacao nibs and toasted coconut

Speciation Artisan Ales (Comstock Park, MI)
March of Progress – Foeder-aged mixed culture ale with rhubarb and vanilla

Transient Artisan Ales (Bridgman, MI)
Canuckley – Maple syrup bourbon barrel-aged stout with vanilla and coffee

Verboten Brewing & Barrel Project (Loveland, CO)
Cognac/Whiskey Grow Old With You – Rye barrel-aged barleywine re-aged on cognac staves

 

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Finally, we'd like to congratulate all of the winners at 2018's FoBAB.

2018 FESTIVAL OF WOOD & BARREL-AGED BEER WINNERS

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BEST IN SHOW

Bottle Logic Brewing (Anaheim, CA)
Fundamental Observation – Bourbon barrel-aged stout blend with Madagascar vanilla

RUNNER UP

Hopewell Brewing Co. (Chicago, IL)
Crudités – Dryhopped wild saison blend

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STRONG PORTER STOUT

GOLD / MORE Brewing (Villa Park, IL) Barrel-Aged Mehndi
SILVER / Saugatuck Brewing Co. (Saugatuck, MI) – BBA Dramanatrixxx
BRONZE / Empirical Brewery (Chicago, IL) – Neutronium

SPECIALTY/STRONG PORTER STOUT

GOLD / Bottle Logic Brewing (Anaheim, CA)  – Fundamental Observation
SILVER / Fremont Brewing (Seattle, WA) – The Rusty Nail
BRONZE / Four fathers Brewing (Valporaiso, IN) – Double Barrel-Aged Wheelhouse

BARLEYWINE/WHEATWINE

GOLD / Verboten Brewing (Loveland, CO) – Cognac/Whiskey Grow Old With You
SILVER / Goose Island Beer Co. (Chicago, IL) – Bourbon County Brand Wheatwine
BRONZE / Revolution Brewing (Chicago, IL) – Straight Jacket

CLASSIC BEER STYLE

GOLD / Middle Brow Beer Co. (Chicago, IL) – Sassafras Brut
SILVER / Church Street Brewing Co. (Itasca, IL) – Holy Moly
BRONZE / Black Horizon Brewing Co. (Willowbrook, IL) – Gin Barrel-Aged Fool Me Once

STRONG PALE BEER

GOLD / Pollyanna Brewing Co. (Lemont, IL) – Orenda Vol. 03 Aged in Apple Brandy Barrels
SILVER / Käretäs Brewing (Itasca, IL) – Sacre Coeur
BRONZE / Nebraska Brewing Co. (Papillion, NE) – Melange a Trois

STRONG DARK BEER

GOLD / Rock Bottom Brewery – Portland (Portland, OR) – 5th Dimension
SILVER / Käretäs Brewing (Itasca, IL) – Colm Cille
BRONZE / Half Acre Brewing Co. (Chicago, IL) – Orin

FRUIT BEER

GOLD / Werk Force Brewing (Plainfield, IL) – Farmhouse Vultures
with Blackberries & Raspberries

SILVER / Werk Force Brewing (Plainfield, IL) – The Legend of Birger
BRONZE / Brickstone Brewery (Bourbonnais, IL) – Luxardo Afterworld

SPECIALTY/EXPERIMENTAL

GOLD / Fremont Brewing (Seattle, WA) – B-Bomb: Coconut Edition
SILVER / St. Francis Brewery (St. Francis, WI) – Teotwawki 
BRONZE / The Dayton Beer Co. (Dayton, OH) – Deep Sea Diving Sea Salt Stout

WILD BEER (BRETT)

GOLD / Off Color – Mousetrap (Chicago, IL) – Wildings
SILVER / Blackberry Farm Brewery (Walland, TN) – Barrel Series Brett Belgo IPA
BRONZE / Funkwerks (Fort Collins, CO) – Sauvin Reserve

WILD BEER (SOUR)

GOLD / Hopewell Brewing Co. (Chicago, IL) – Crudités
SILVER / Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project (Denver, CO) – L’Brett D’or
BRONZE / The Rare Barrel (Berkeley, CA) – The Search

WILD BEER (SOUR with FRUIT)

GOLD / Rhinegeist Brewery (Cincinnati, OH) – Perpetual Passions
SILVER / The Rare Barrel (Berkeley, CA) – Playing for Keeps
BRONZE / Horus Aged Ales (Oceanside, CA) – Goodbye to Beauty

CIDER/PERRY/MEAD

GOLD / Cellarmen’s (Hazel Park, MI) – Valentine Liberator Gin BA Cranpus
SILVER / Superstition Meadery (Prescott, AZ) – Aphrodisia
BRONZE / 2 Towns Ciderhouse (Corvallis, OR) – La Mûre


  The calm before the storm, at Saturday's early session...

The calm before the storm, at Saturday's early session...

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  Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joins Kevin Cary on stage for the 2018 awards presentation.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joins Kevin Cary on stage for the 2018 awards presentation.

  Kevin Cary, President of the ICBG, announces the winners.

Kevin Cary, President of the ICBG, announces the winners.

 

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Photography by Nick Costa.