A lot of news has been getting by me due to circumstances I’ve hashed in extreme detail before, but here’s a quick catch-up to this deadline:
Tickets go on sale this Saturday, September 1 for the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild’s 10th Annual Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged beer! This year’s FOBAB, as we call it, will take place Saturday, November 17 at the Skyline Loft of the Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th Street, Chicago.
Sales start at 11:59 a.m. through BrownPaperTickets.com. There will be admissions to two tasting sessions: 1:00 − 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 − 10:00 p.m. Taster tickets are $45 and include a commemorative tasting glass, 16 two-ounce sample tickets, and a souvenir program. Additional sample tickets and food are available for purchase. Designated driver tickets will be sold for $10. While previously tickets have remained available for a few days, the booming craft beer scene leads me to suggest you prepare to avoid a possible quick sellout.
Additionally, members of ICBG’s IMBIBE club (“I‘M a Big Illinois Beer Enthusiast”), will get one hour early entry with their 1:00 p.m. session ticket (you’ll also need to bring a valid state ID and an email address or printed IMBIBE registration. Detail on joining IMBIBE are at illinoisbeer.com/imbibe/.
FOBAB is the country’s largest celebration of wood and barrel-aged beer, Attendees will be able to sample a vast array of exotic flavors from some of the rarest craft beers, some of which will only be available at the festival.
According to the Guild website: “Long before the advent of stainless steel, the use of wooden barrels imparted many unique characteristics to beer. In many ways, the U. S. craft brewer has come full circle, returning to the roots of brewing while demonstrating creativity unmatched anywhere in the world.” Expect to find beers aged in new or used wine, whiskey or Bourbon barrels. Some allowing the beer to pick up qualities of the liquor previously aged there, others so resident microorganisms in the wood can impart a tart or acidic character.
This will be the first FoBAB to be held at the Bridgeport Art Center, a recently-opened gallery, loft and studio space in the former Spiegel Catalog Warehouse. Its top-floor Skyline Loft is an 18,000 square foot facility with views of the Chicago skyline, and large parking lot, or public transportation via the #35 CTA bus from the Red or Green Line’s Sox Park stop.
The Festival is also a judged craft beer competition. Last year 62 brewers from 22 states offered samples of 172 beers, and prizes were awarded in ten categories including “Wild Beer,” “Wild Acidic Beer,” “Experimental Beer,” and the palate clearing “Classic Styles, not higher than 7% ABV.” Yes, you will be able to find interesting wood-aged session beers.