GABF 2019: Illinois Pour List Preview
For the first time in its 38 year history, the Brewers Association has decided to reveal the list of beers pouring at the festival long before the festival app drops a day or two before the festival. This allows for maximum planning and efficiency for all attendees, as well as some overwrought and really in-depth pour preview lists. (…) I complied as much as the breweries would allow me last year, but with the list being out already, I can go a bit deeper into it.
What follows is the list of Illinois breweries and what they are pouring (which can be found on the GABF website), but here at ABV Chicago, we always go… somewhere. Additionally, there’s the style, any hops or adjuncts used (where applicable) and my recommendation on which beer to get if you were only to get one. In some cases, I’ll even add a Treasure Trove pick – one that’s not listed on the pour list that the brewery makes that you should definitely get if it’s there (no guarantees on these!). This is above all personal preference at its peak, so, as always, do what makes you feel good. Now, on with the list!
(Pour list reflects the one listed on the Great American Beer Festival’s website as of Monday, September 23 and is subject to change. So basically don’t yell at me if something listed here isn’t there.)
350 Brewing Co.
Howdy Neighbor – Strawberry/Lemon Kolsch, 5.2%
I Hate Mondays – Espresso Porter, 8.5%
Killer Hops from Outer Space – New England IPA, 6%
Pina Colada Shake City – Milkshake IPA with coconut and pineapple, 6.5%
ABV recommends: Howdy Neighbor. Light and refreshing with hints of strawberry and lemongrass, this is a perfect diversion from all the sour, sweet, and barrel-aged offerings you’re probably drinking at the fest.
Treasure Trove: Crook – American IPA, 6.9%. 350 does hoppy beers very well, and Crook (formerly Crook County) is one of their better ones. It even won a blind bracket IPA challenge against some tough competition!
1810 – Marzen, 5.4%
Entry Level Snob – American IPA with Citra, Centennial and Simcoe, 7.6%
Odessa – American Light Lager, 4.5%
Unearthed in Permafrost – New England Double IPA with Vic Secret, Amarillo, and Chinook, 8.3%
ABV Recommends: Let’s go with an American IPA, the Entry Level Snob. You’ll get a ton of citrus and pine notes, which may be lacking in some if the New England style ones.
Band of Bohemia
Mother of Kites – Traditional Ale with thai basil, line leaves, and lemongrass. 6%
Sliced Bread – wheat beer, 5.4%
ABV recommends: Go with the additions on this one and get the Mother of Kites.
Treasure Trove: Their beer was meant to pair with food, and that’s where it really shines. If a Michelin star brewpub brought food to a fest, it would be the best food there, hands down. If only…
Barrel-Aged Imperial Pajamas – Heaven Hill barrel-aged Imperial Oatmeal Stout, 13.5%
Batch 663 – Koval 4 grain whiskey and bourbon barrel aged English barleywine, 12.4%
Begyle Blonde Ale – 5.4%
No Tomorrow – American IPA double dry hopped with Citra and Simcoe, 7%
Sunny Afternoon – American Pale Ale with Citra, 4.9%
ABV Recommends: I was all set to put Imperial Pajamas here, but Batch 663 is too interesting to pass up. Their previous barleywines have been pretty good, so give this one a shot.
Brickstone APA – American Pale Ale with Amarillo; 6.2%
Galaxy Down Under – American IPA with Galaxy; 6.5%
HopSkip – American Pale Ale with Citra, Amarillo, and Centennial; 7.75%
Permanent Vacation – American IPA with Citra; 6%
Triple H-Haze-Haze-Haze – triple dry hopped hazy IPA with Citra, Galaxy, and Amarillo; 8%
ABV Recommends: Are you old enough to remember Zombie Dust before they changed it? Well, remember no more. Permanent Vacation is what Zombie Dust once was. Enjoy it again and again without the line!
Treasure Trove: Dark Secret – Russian Imperial Stout; 11%. A yearly release around Black Friday, Dark Secret is silky, chocolatey and slightly boozy barrel-aged stout. Coffee, vanilla, and/or fruit are sometimes added, so consider it an added bonus if that’s available.
BrickStone Brewery Brewpub
Brickstone Coffee Porter
Oatmeal Stout – 5%
Take It to 100 – New England double IPA triple dry hopped with Amarillo, Cryo Citra, and Huell Melon, 9.2%
To Helles and Back
ABV Recommends: When a bunch of breweries get together – including the likes of Transient, Hailstorm, Phase Three and Werk Force – you’ve got to give it a try. Take It to 100!
Treasure Trove: Cherry Bomb – fruit beer with Noble hops and Michigan cherries, 4.2% It’s all in the name. An easy to drink and very-fruit forward beer. Not quite as sweet as, say, New Glarus Belgian Red, but still a ton of cherry flavor. My go-to when I stop in at the brewpub (if it’s available!).
Devil’s Advocate – Belgian Strong Golden Ale with 500 lbs of Belgian candi and cane sugars; 9%
Holy Cow – Milk Stout; 6.5%
Jucifer – New England double IPA with Citra, Mosaic, Galaxy and Falconer’s Flight; 9%
ABV Recommends: Go with Devil’s Advocate. Not a lot of Belgian Strong Ales being poured from Illinois, and Church Street knows their way around classic styles.
D and G
Archangel Red – red ale, 5%
Kolsch – 4.5%
Roasted Chocolate Oatmeal Stout – 5.5%
West Coast IPA – 5.5%
ABV Recommends: A new brewery even to me, I’d probably go after the Archangel Red. Another underrepresented style at the fest!
Deadhead IPA Series: Haze of the Dead – New England double IPA with Citra and Simcoe; 8.5%
Deadhead IPA Series: Touch of Haze – New England IPA with Mosaic and Cascade; 7.3%
Hawaii Five Ale – blond ale with pineapple, coconut, mango, peach, and guava; 6.4%
Wild Sour Series: Rose – Berliner Weisse with apple and raspberry; 6%
Wild Sour Series: Triple Berry – sour ale with blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, and lactose; 5.2%
ABV Recommends: DESTIHL, before Dosvidanya, was mostly know for its sour beers. Triple Berry sounds like it will be fruit forward and not overly sour (thanks to the lactose), making it close to a fruited pie (with some whipped cream!).
Treasure Trove: Dosvidanya – barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout; 12.5%. We are still shocked this isn’t on the pour list. DESTIHL’s signature barrel-aged stout, it has won multiple FoBAB medals and even a GABF medal. Hopefully they’re pouring it because it’s definitely worth a stop.
Deep Soul: Kona – Imperial porter with coffee; 11.7%
Galactic Coyote – kettle sour with thai basil and watermelon juice; 4.1%
Plumage IPA – American IPA with Citra and Hallertau Blanc; 6.5%
Songbird – Pilsner; 5.3%
Tacocat – kettle sour; 5%
ABV Recommends: Something refreshing that will give your palate a break – try the Galactic Coyote. The watermelon and thai basil will remind you of a cocktail and have you yearning for warmer weather.
Barrel-aged Shadow of the Moon w/Vanilla – barrel aged imperial stout with vanilla; 8.7%
HazeOver – New England IPA with Citra and Mosaic; 6.1%
Pullman Brown Ale – 6.3%
The Hidden Gem – kolsch; 5.4%
ABV Recommends: Get yourself some history with the Pullman Brown Ale, which won a World Beer Cup gold in 2006 among other accolades.
Treasure Trove: Wooden Hell – barrel aged American barleywine; 9.1% Most likely not the 2007 whale, but the updated version from 2017 (at the earliest). It was a bit hoppy fresh, but the hops have slowly faded away, leaving a toffee and caramel forward delicious barleywine in its wake.
Assembly Required Peach-Lychee – sour IPA with lychee and peach and double dry hopped with El Dorado and Grungeist; 5.8%
Lemondrop Saison – dry hopped with Lemondrop; 5.9%
Saison – dry hopped with El Dorado; 5.9%
Small Talk – New England pale ale double dry hopped with Citra; 4.8%
Snoochie Boochies – New England double IPA with Citra and Mosaic; 8%
Sprinkles Required – sour IPA with hibiscus, rooibos tea, lactose and hopped with Michigan Copper and El Dorado; 6.3%
Strawberry Basil Hefeweizen – 5%
ABV Recommends: Depends on what you’re looking for here. Small Talk is the one I’d recommend, as it’s just as aromatically-forward and big on flavor as the bigger ABV IPAs and damn sessionable. If you’re feeling a bit risky, go with Sprinkles Required which tastes like a cocktail.
Treasure Trove: Fernetic. Forbidden Root’s take on the Fernet-Branca, it takes exactly like the liqueur, only without all the alcohol! The Fernet family was heavily involved in its creation, and it really shows off Forbideen Root’s botanical abilities.
Billy Goetz Bock – bock with Munich, Caramunich and Carafa III malts (Pro-Am entry); 7.2%
Ceske Pilsner – 4.4%
Dortmunder – lager with Mandarina Bavaria and Huell Melon; 5.9%
Hotel Life – lager; 4.7%
Rock Out with Maibock Out – maibock; 7.7%
Take Me To Your Liter! – Oktoberfest; 5.6%
ABV Recommends: Hailstorm is going heavy on lagers and bocks here, and Hotel Life is one of the better lagers we’ve had recently. Some hop bitterness and aromas are there, and it remains very easy to drink. Just like the real hotel life?
Treasure Trove: Vlad variants – Russian Imperial Stout; 10.6% Another one I’m surprised is not pouring. Vlad is Hailstorm’s signature barrel-aged stout, and it pretty much has had every adjunct put in it. Grab it if you see any of them (especially the fruited ones).
Charlatan – American Pale Ale with Citra, Centennial and Simcoe; 6.1%
Cuppa – Imperial Stout; 12%
Moon Fruit – double IPA with Galaxy, Citra and Mosaic; 8%
Mr. Shakey Strawberry – Milkshake IPA with strawberry puree, vanilla and lactose; 7.5%
Son of Juice – New England IPA with Mosaic, Simcoe and Nugget; 6.3%
ABV Recommends: One of the better milkshake IPAs out there, Mr. Shakey Strawberry tastes just like strawberry ice cream while not being excessively sweet. I like a few miles away from the brewery and I’ll most likely be getting a pour. See you at the Maplewood booth!
Treasure Trove: Any Cuppa variant/Morbidly Obese Pug – 9% Cuppa is their base stout (which is listed), but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it without any adjuncts. If they do bring an adjuncted one, hope it’s the Oreo Cuppa, as it tastes just like Oreo cookies. Morbidly Obese Pug is their GABF bronze medal-winning Fat Pug, only with double the chocolate. Yes please.
Aperitif Pilsner – 5%
Bourbon Barrel Aged Gingerbread Imperial Stout – barrel aged Imperial Stout in Four Roses barrels; 16%
Caramelized Chocolate Churro Baltic Porter – Baltic porter with vanilla, cinnamon and Oaxacan chocolate; 7%
Oak Barrel Aged Flanders Red Ale – aged for 24 months in American Oak barrels; 6.7%
Peated Scotch Ale – 11.8%
ABV Recommends: One of my highlights from FoBAB 2012 was Jared Rouben’s (then of Goose Island Clybourn) Hansel and Gretel, a barrel aged gingerbread stout. This is the similar, with tons of gingerbread and vanilla notes, but be careful with that 16%!
Treasure Trove: Shaved Black Truffle Pilsner – pilsner with Australian black truffles; 5% $120 a 22oz bottle for this one. Yeah, I’ll take a 1oz pour. Multiple, in fact.
Arketype: Coco Flux – Imperial Stout with chocolate; 11%
DDH Double Space Boots – New England double IPA double dry hopped with Galaxy; 8%
DDH Dusty – American pale ale double dry hopped with Citra and CTZ; 6%
More to Life – American lager; 4%
ABV Recommends: Last year More brought 3 stouts and a pilsner. The three stouts ran out quickly while the pilsner remained all session (like we predicted). Get the stout before it runs out. But don’t sleep on the IPAs, as Eric Padilla – former brewer at Corridor, which won the silver for hazy DIPA last year – is now brewing at More.
Treasure Trove: Henna/Roaming Elephant. Henna is what More is known for – a thick and chocolatey barrel aged stouts with various adjuncts – so if they’re pouring bottles of it, get in line. Roaming Elephant is their barrel-aged barleywine. Bottles go for like $100 and I’ve yet to hear of it being on tap, so I would definitely like to try this one if it’s there.
Lupulin City – Milkshake IPA with vanilla, lactose, Citra, Mosaic and Galaxy; 7.3%
Service Dog – New England IPA with Citra, Simcoe, and El Dorado; 7.3%
Stateville Stout – milk stout with lactose; 7.4%
Ze Vorld’s Greatest – doppelbock; 9.2%
ABV Recommends: A brewery that’s new to me as well (I can’t get to all of them!), I’d probably go with either the Stateville Stout (simplicity!) or Ze Vorld’s Greatest (contrarian pick), plus Illinois seems to know their way around a bock.
Fuzzy Smack – Berliner Weisse with peach; 4.6%
Hooroo – Australian pale ale; 4.7%
Leisel Weapon – Hefeweizen; 5.2%
Squishy Gummy – New England IPA with Citra, Mosaic, and Simcoe; 7.1%
ABV Recommends: I think Leisel Weapon is the only Hefeweizen being poured by an Illinois brewery, so I’d go with that one. Hooroo, though, sounds interesting as well.
Treasure Trove: BA Imperial Bernie – Heaven Hill BA Imperial Milk Stout; 12.1%. Tastes like a slightly lighter version of Bourbon County, BA Imperial Bernie is one of Noon Whistle’s best beers. Totally worth a stop if it happens to be there.
Camera Ready – saison with hibiscus; 5.4%
Exclusif! – saison; 7%
Printer’s Ink – dark ale; 7.3%
Read All Over – American red ale; 6%
Sports Page – helles lager; 4.9%
ABV Recommends: Love the names on all these beers, but Camera Ready is what I would pick. Who wouldn’t love a pink saison?
Beezer – New England IPA double dry hopped with Citra and Mosaic; 6.9%
Della – kolsch with Hallertau Mittelfruh and Hallertau Blanc; 5.2%
Galactic Thoughts – New England double IPA double dry hopped with Galaxy, Mosaic, and Motueka; 7.5%
ABV Recommends: Somewhat surprised at this list (see below), but Beezer is clearly the standout here. Juicy and hoppy, Beezer might just make a run at a medal. It’s that good.
Treasure Trove: Any milk stout/Cinnamon Prost Crunch. I visited one time and they had 8 different milk stouts on tap, which I thought was insane, but they were all good. Any milk stout they do would be welcomed, but Cinnamon Prost Crunch is the one you’re hoping for. It tastes like the cereal WITH the milk. Delicious.
Cities – Mexican lager; 5%
Half Step – American pale ale with Simcoe; 5.7%
Lightning Will – pilsner; 5%
Low Boy – bock; 7.2%
Spectator – doppelbock; 8.6%
ABV Recommends: On Tour’s bringing some medal heat to their booth this year, with both the Low Boy (gold) and Spectator (silver) being poured. Either is a fine option, but I’d go with the Low Boy.
Failte – Dry Irish Stout – 3.9%
Fruhauf – German Style Marzen – 5.4%
Lite Reading – lager; 4.7%
On the Bash – Scotch Ale – 9.2%
Pollyanna Pils – 5.4%
ABV Recommends: Pollyanna really switched it up from last year’s fest, which had a fruited beer and a adjuncted stout among their offerings. Go for the medal here with Fruhauf, their bronze medal-winning Marzen.
Azazel – New England double IPA; 8.2%
Dwarves of Doom – stout with Dagger Mountain coffee; 10%
Hemogoblin – wheat beer with blood orange and chocolate; 7.5%
Lycan – Czech pilsner; 5.3%
Zuul – New England IPA; 6.66%
ABV Recommends: A kind of crazy beer that doesn’t taste as crazy once you have it, Hemogoblin features all the tartness of the blood orange at the front, then finishes with a hint of chocolate sweetness, all while still retaining its wheat beer characteristics. One of the more interesting beers you’ll have.
Automatic Mutiny – India pale lager; 6.1%
Code Switch – Belgian Strong dark ale with maple sugar, dark candi syrup and blackberries; 14.5%
Every Day-Hero – session IPA; 4.3%
Ghost Ride – kolsch; 4.9%
Hazy-Hero – New England IPA; 7.3%
Helles Dee – Helles lager; 4.8%
ABV Recommends: I’d normally have recommended the Every Day-Hero or Code Switch off this list, but Hazy-Hero is everything we like about hazy IPAs – bold aromas, juicy, with a little bitterness at the end. A clear standout.
Treasure Trove: VSOJ. Please Revolution. Give the masses what they want. VSOJ is delicious, a 2-year aged barleywine with barrel notes that are reminiscent of what King Henry was in its prime. Run to this booth if they happen to be pouring it.
Revolution Brewing – Brewpub
Boss Ryeway – ryewine aged in WhistlePig Boss Hog Armagnac barrels; 14.6%
Brunch-Hero – New England IPA with Mosaic, Citra and Cryo Centennial; 6.6%
Escalera – Mexican lager; 5.3%
Jumpy Juice – hazy IPA with rotating hops; 6.3%
Rev Pils – 5.5%
ABV Recommends: It’s not every day that you get to try a beer aged in a $175 (retail!) bottle of whiskey. Boss Ryeway is just that; smooth with a ton of caramel, oak and spice. Boss Ryeway is a boozy treat you’ll definitely return for again and again.
2nd Anniversary Wild Ale Fruit Medley – wild ale with mango, cherry, passion fruit, pineapple and red grapes; 8.2%
Dark Realm – Russian imperial stout; 11%
For Goodness Shakes Creamsicle Milkshake IPA – with orange and vanilla; 7.5%
German Chocolate Cake – stout with cocoa nibs, coconut, lactose and vanilla; 6.5%
Purple Juice Cannon – New England double IPA with Vic Secret, Nelson Sauvin, Mosaic, Azacca, El Dorado and Amarillo; 10%
ABV Recommends: Gimme all the hops on this one. While not actually purple, Purple Juice Cannon has most of the “hot” hops in it, so what could possibly go wrong? (Ahem…10%…)
Blood Orange IPA – 6.66%
Blueberry Yum – New England IPA with Bravo, Comet and Rakau; 6.3%
Dobroy Nochi S’Mores – Russian imperial stout with vanilla, graham crackers, and cocao nibs; 9.5%
Intercontinental Pilsner – 4%
Oktoberfest – 5.8%
Put the Weiss in the Coconut
Scandanavian Beach Front Property – Baltic porter; 8.3%
Subject to Change – New England IPA with rotating hops; 6.5%
ABV Recommends: Go with the chalk and get the Dobroy Nochi S’mores. Not terribly high in alcohol and definitely something that will stand out at a fest full of flavorful beers.
Chilly Water – American pale ale with Citra and Amarillo; 4.8%
Comfortably Blonde – blonde ale; 4.8%
Five Eyes Honey Ale
Oktoberfest – 5.5%
Scarlet Fire – red ale; 5.6%
ABV Recommends: Scarlet Fire. It’s Tighthead’s gold medal winning red ale from last year and, hell, you should be drinking more red ales anyways.
Barrel Aged Vanilla Imperial Stout – imperial stout aged for 10 months in Heaven Hill barrels with vanilla beans; 12%
El Zacaton – imperial stout with almond flour, cacao nibs, cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans, ancho chilies, guajillo chilies, habanero chilies, and cherrywood; 12%
Fresh IIPA V1 – double IPA with 7C’s, Centennial, Citra and Columbus; 8.5%
Le Grand Monde 2019-4 – barrel-aged American wild ale with watermelon and prickly pear; 6.5%
Peche – American wild ale with peaches; 6.5%
ABV Recommends: El Zacaton – The Abraxas killer. Tons of cinnamon, vanilla and chile heat on the nose gives way to a smooth (thanks almond flour), balanced adjuncted beer that is dangerously easy to drink. Bonus points if they bring the barrel-aged version.
Blues of Mexicali – Mexican lager; 5.3%
Foggy Rhetoric – New England IPA; 7.2%
Ol’ Pile – American lager; 4.6%
Sleepy Bear – Russian imperial stout; 9.6%
Up the Junction – ESB; 6.3%
Werktoberfest – marzen; 5.6%
ABV Recommends: Sleepy Bear is great, but Werktoberfest had us thinking it was a Sierra Nevada beer in a recent blind tasting. That’s saying something about the quality of this oktoberfest.
Treasure Trove: Sleepy Bear variants. We had the German Chocolate Cake variant on the GABF show last year and it was unbelievable. They do variants with other adjuncts, and any one of them would be an additional treat to an already stellar fest lineup.