This content was originally published by The Hop Review, a digital magazine that joined the Hop Culture family in March 2020.
This piece was written by Jack Muldowney.
UNIVERSITY VILLAGE, CHICAGO
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
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)
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.
BEST IN SHOW
Listermann Brewing Co. + Triple Digit Brewing Co. (Cincinnati, OH)
Chickow! (Imperial Brown w/ hazelnuts, in Bourbon barrels)
Destihl Brewing (Bloomington, IL)
Dosvidanya (Russian Imperial Stout in Bourbon barrels)
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
GOLD / Scorched Earth Brewing Co. – Exiled Angel
SILVER / Milwaukee Brewing Co. – Louie’s Resurrection
BRONZE / Sierra Nevada – Trip in the Woods Biere de Garde
GOLD / Bell’s Brewery – TC Jupiter
SILVER / – Orin Half Acre Beer Co.
BRONZE / Free Will Brewing Co. – Ella
GOLD / Werk Force Brewing – Beautifully Broken
SILVER / Alter Brewing Co. – King’s Blood
BRONZE / Sierra Nevada – Barrel-Aged Wheatwine with Lemon
GOLD / Listermann Brewing Co. + Triple Digit Brewing Co. – Chickow!
SILVER / Lakefront Brewery – Lakefront Spiced Winter Lager
BRONZE / Excel Brewing Co. – Mint Julep
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
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
GOLD / Angry Orchard – Understood in Motion #1
SILVER / Seattle Cider Co. – Red Wine Barrel Aged Berry
BRONZE / Seattle Cider Co. – Wild Fermented Heirloom
Photography by Nick Costa.