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
Destihl Brewing (Bloomington, IL)
Dosvidanya (Russian Imperial Stout in Bourbon barrels)
STRONG PORTER STOUT
SPECIALTY STRONG PORTER STOUT
BARLEYWINE / WHEATWINE
CLASSIC BEER STYLE
WILD BEER/SOUR with FRUIT
Photography by Nick Costa.