Today is the beginning of the end of one of the biggest weeks in the Chicago Beer World- FoBAB week. The Festival of Barrel Aged Beer is an annual event celebrating beers aged in wooden casks. The best brewers in the world descend on Chicago to celebrate all that is good with beer, wood, and time. To coincide with the craziness, local breweries hold events throughout the week in the leadup to the festivities. Here are four of our favorite beers from the run up to FoBAB and a sneak peak at the ones we look forward to trying this weekend.
Phase 3- P3 Rye Lager (7.3% ABV Amber Lager)
As you can see from the picture, we enjoyed this beer with a lovely Romana pizza from Giambotta Pizza Co. in downtown Plainfield. Even if you order carry out, at Giambotta’s you’re just making an appointment to watch them make your pizza. They roll it thin and then put it in a 900 degree oven for 90 seconds. The freshness, simplicity, and quality of the ingredients create an unmatched pie.
As for the beer- as the name implies it’s a rye lager. We get loads of caramel and baking spice on the nose. The palate is bready and clean, with a floral, almost peppery finish. The perfect complement to an outstanding pie.
Treehouse Brewing Company- Jjjuliusss (6.8% American IPA)
My Charlton bender continues. Jjjuliuss, the big brother to Julius, pours thicc with two C’s. The color is purdy, looking like an orange whip. The nose leaps out of the can- a citrus medley, but most prominently orange. The palate is like orange sherbet. As it finishes, I get orange rind and guava. It’s almost gummy and certainly electric.
Goose Island- Bourbon County Brand Stout 2019 (14.7% Barrel Aged Imperial Stout)
It wouldn’t be FoBAB week if we didn’t break out the barrel aged stout that started them all- Bourbon County Brand Stout.
The nose brings plumes of vanilla and bourbon chocolate. The palate, for 14.7% is strikingly smooth, bringing in some licorice and notes of dried fruit. The finish is an eye opening melange of burnt sugar, leather, tobacco, and char.
The best there is. The best there was. The best there ever will be. The original Bourbon County Brand Stout.
Mikerphone Brewing- Well Well Well (19.78% Barrell Aged Imperial Stout)
The big finish. A massive imperial stout, brewed with a mostly wheat mashbill, this stout was aged 20 months in wheated bourbon barrels. To get to 19.78%, the yeast used must have literally ate the sugar up and spit out alcohol.
A bit about bourbon to help you understand the beer- the mash bill of bourbon, by law, has to be at least 51% corn. The balance is the distillers call and some of the best bourbons in the world will use all wheat on the last 49% to create a fully “wheated” bourbon. Fully wheated bourbons include Old Fitzgerald, Weller, and of course, Pappy Van Winkle (we could do a who series on bourbon history, but we’ll save that for another time).
The above bourbons are some of my favorite, with their smoothness and drinkability perfect for my palate. So when we saw Well, Well Well- a nearly all wheated imperial stout, aged in wheated bourbon barrels- we knew we’d be in for a treat.
I didn’t think a beer that so brazenly pushed the limits could stay true to style. Well Well Well pours a porter brown- a little lighter than traditional imperial stouts. When swirling in the glass, you see the liquid clinging to the glass. Spider legs for days.
The nose overwhelms with char, tobacco, and molasses. Of course there is alcohol, but from the malt, not the spirit.
The palate is dry, as you’d expect, and not overly sweet. While I was expecting more dark fruits, I was pleasantly surprised with wonderful chocolate flavor.
The bourbon character picks up on the finish, with the all wheat recipe keeping it smooth and drinkable. I get oak and some fusel alcohol.
This beer reminds me so much of Weller and chocolate mousse. A beer that makes the spirit worlds collide.
And you heard it hear first- Well Well Well wins a medal at FoBAB this weekend.
Beers We’re Looking Forward to
As you can tell, we’re pretty excited about FoBAB this weekend. So we’ll close out this post by wishing you guys a great weekend and including some of the beers we are looking forward to trying- some we’ll review, and some we’ll savor.
More Brewing- Mehndi 2021, Meuse Valley
Goose Island- BCBS 2021 Blants, Double Barrel, and Proprietors
Hop Butcher- Stavius & Real Humdinger
Phase 3- Minutiae
Urban Brew Labs- Comet Me Bro (Heaven Hill)