It’s FoBAB time Nov. 3 & 4: Come enjoy this one-of-a-kind festival and competition that celebrates the innovation and craftsmanship of barrel-aged brewing
By Ray Stout
Executive director of the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild
What the heck is FoBAB?
FoBAB is the Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer. Hosted by the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, FoBAB is a one-of-a-kind celebration of the innovation and craftsmanship that defines barrel-aged brewing. In fact, Fobab is North America’s largest and most prestigious barrel-aged beer festival and competition.
Illinois is the crown jewel of barrel-aged beer in the U.S. mostly due to the impact of FoBAB on our brewing community. A wood or barrel-aged beer is a beer that has been aged for some time in a wooden barrel or in contact with wood. The beer is aged with the intention of imparting a unique character of the wood flavor into the beer itself.
Barrel-aged beer may be aged in wooden barrels (new or previously used to age wine or spirits), or chips, spirals and cubes may be added to the conditioning tanks that normally house beer. A variety of types of wood are used including oak, apple, alder, and hickory. The interior of the barrels is often charred or toasted to further enhance the flavor of the wood.
This year, hundreds of craft breweries from across the country will submit their most exciting wood and barrel-aged beer, cider, mead and perry for judging.
This year, hundreds of craft breweries from across the country will submit their most exciting wood and barrel-aged beer, cider, mead and perry for judging. A panel of expert judges and stewards will evaluate FoBAB entries, awarding gold, silver and bronze medals as well as “Best in Show” honors across 12 style categories.
Sounds cool, how do I go?
Yes, it’s very cool. Tickets will be available for two tasting sessions coming up this Friday, November 3 (6-10 p.m. with ImBIBE member entry at 5 p.m.), and Saturday, November 4 (1-5 p.m. with ImBIBE member entry at noon) at the UIC Credit Union 1 Arena on Chicago’s near west side, giving attendees the opportunity to sample hundreds of barrel-aged beers, ciders, meads and perries across the 12 categories, each hand-crafted and aged in contact with wood or wood barrels in breweries from coast to coast.
You can buy tickets, find out more, and see past winners at FoBAB.com.
What’s especially cool is that all the proceeds from FoBAB go right back into supporting our non-profit trade organization, the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild (ICBG). Since 1997, the ICBG has been the unified voice for Illinois brewers, supporting member and consumer education, advocating for the modernization of craft beer laws, and promoting craft beer brewed with pride across Illinois.
We hope to see you there.