CINCINNATI -- Beer, bourbon barrels and brewers will collide this weekend in the Windy City for a competition of epic proportions.
This weekend the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild will host the annual Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beers (FoBAB.)
The event regularly draws brewers and fans from across the nation for a celebration of all things barrel-aged. Organizers are expecting more than 90 breweries and well over 300 beers this year to enter the competition.
Sadly, tickets are already sold out for all sessions if you were hoping to go. (Though if you feel like making the trip to Chicago, ticket scalpers will likely have some passes for sale online and at the event.)
FoBAB is a favorite among brewers across the nation as it allows them to put up some of their best special projects or rare beers against the competition.
It’s also a fan favorite as barrel-aged beers are some of the most sought-after by craft beer fans. Many, if not most, barrel-aged beers fetch high prices and can be “cellared” or aged. The process can mute the “boozy” heat of the bourbon or liquor from the barrel and allow other flavors to develop, making for an even more complex beer.
The Tri-State is no joke when it comes to barrel aging. With Cincinnati’s close ties to the bourbon industry, many of the Queen City’s brewers have huge barrel-aging programs that include sour projects, bourbon barrels, rum barrels, wine barrels and more.
Last year Ei8ht Ball won a gold medal for its Reintarnation at the festival. Rhinegeist Brewing recently won a silver medal for one of its barrel-aged projects at the Great American Beer Festival. It was released to the public this past weekend.
This year the local entries include:
- Sherry Ink
- Double Oak-Aged Mastodon
- Oak-aged Shiver Chai porter
- BBA 11/162 Wee Heavy
- Triumvirate (American Wild Ale aged in gin barrels)
- BBA Sour Pumpkin
- BBA Chickow!
- BBA Home Sweet Home
- Ryl’d (BBA English Dark Mild Ale)
- Reintarnation (BBA Golden Ale)
- K-Hole (BBA American Imperial Mocha Stout)
Taft’s Ale House
- BBA Mooly Wooly
- BBA Cherrywood Amber
Depending on if any of those beers win, fans should keep an eye out as they will likely end up in bottles for sale.