Pre-FoBAB 2022 Events Guide
The Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beers celebrates its 20th year in 2022, returning to the Credit Union 1 Arena for its second year. But something else is returning this year as well with a vengeance – the FoBAB pre-party. FoBAB has always been about the main event with very little pre-festival festivities. That seems to be changing this year.
While many other festivals around the country have a vast assortment of pre-festival events, FoBAB has never had things on the scale of the Great American Beer Festival (in which events typically start on that prior Monday or Tuesday) or even the Great Taste of the Midwest (which starts on the Friday before the fest). It seemed like things were trending in the right direction in 2013 (or maybe 2014) when the now-closed Northdown hosted an insane pre-FoBAB party featuring the likes of Side Project, Perennial, Prairie, Off Color, and more. Goose Island Clybourn released their Brettanomite beer FoBAB weekend, along with the first ever bottled Deep Wood beer (Very Mad Cow) at Revolution. But then things seemed to take a step back, with less events and bottle releases.
That’s not saying there were no events, but it seemed scattershot and not coordinated. It must be the pandemic, because there’s a wealth of FoBAB pre-parties and events going on as early as Wednesday as well as hot drops from out-of-state breweries involved in the festival. So we figured, let’s put as many of them as we can in one place. So here they are.
Note: We will update this as more events become known to us or announced.
Until November 13
Beers For Barreling FoBAB Passport
All the suburbs (see below)
Most (if not all) of the suburban beer shops slash bars come together to participate in this event to win swag from both the beer store and a brewery. Visit 3 of the participating shops by November 13 and get a stamp from each. Once done, turn your card in to the shop you’d like to win the swag from. Winners will be drawn and announced on social media. The shops will have sections dedicated to FoBAB and barrel-aged beers as well so while purchase isn’t necessary, you’ll probably be buying something if you stop by. Shops participating:
The Beer and Now – Lisle
The Beer Cellar – Glen Ellyn
The Beer Cellar – Geneva
Beer on the Wall – Arlington Heights
Beer on the Wall – Park Ridge
Crafted 1979 – Mokena (Swag from Crafted 1979, Triptych and Whiskey Hill)
Iron & Glass – Minooka
Iron & Glass – Romeoville
The Open Bottle – Lockport (Swag from The Open Bottle and Werk Force)
The Open Bottle – Tinley Park (Swag from The Open Bottle and Werk Force)
Orange & Brew – Downers Grove
Wednesday, November 2
FoBAB Tap Takeover and Beer Release
Beer on the Wall, 106 Main St., Park Ridge, IL 60068
Beer on the Wall will feature barrel-aged offerings from Mikerphone (BA Imperial Smells Like Bean Spirit), Bottle Logic (Intrepid Orchid) and Resident Culture (Forever Alone Nectaron) along with cans and bottles for sale from each of the breweries.
Mikerphone Brewing, 121 Garlisch Drive, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007; 11 AM – 9 PM
While some breweries participating in MikerFoBAB are also at FoBAB, a lot are not, making this an almost must-hit event. Featuring barrel-aged beer from Bottle Logic, Cerebral, Great Notion, Other Half, J. Wakefield, More, Perennial, Phase Three, Tripping Animals, Toppling Goliath, Resident Culture, WeldWerks and Xul, this event heavily depends on your proximity to it and your availability during the day. I just think by the time I’d get out to Elk Grove Village after work all the good stuff would be kicked. And traffic. WeldWerks sent some Coffee Coconut Medianoche – arguably my beer of the Great American Beer Festival – so I’m definitely considering it.
Thursday, November 3
The Beer Temple, 3173 N. Elston Ave., Chicago, IL 60618; 5 – 11 PM
Taking a slightly different approach from some of the other pre-FoBAB “crazy-out-of-market barrel aged beers,” The Beer Temple will have a majority of Illinois breweries at their event. The catch here is that all beers poured at this event from Off Color, Art History, Half Acre, Perennial, Bottle Logic, Jackie O’s and Sierra Nevada will be pouring at FoBAB and entered into the festival. If you’re in a FoBAB Fantasy League and want to preview what a brewery on your team might do on the medal stand, this is the event for you. Beer Temple is also promising some unannounced surprises, which could mean anything from a special tapping to some bottles/cans for sale. Definitely worth popping your head in.
FoBAB Tap Takeover
Forbidden Root – West Town, 1746 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60622; 4 – 10 PM
Pre-pandemic Forbidden Root always hosted pre-parties/parties for the big events of the year, most notably their hazy tap takeover and Saisonathon (plug!) during Illinois Craft Beer Week. They also typically hosted something for FoBAB and that’s back in a big way. Working with AJ Maka distributing (who I’m assuming is behind most of these out-of-market brewery events), Forbidden Root will have barrel-aged beers from Bottle Logic, Resident Culture, WeldWerks, Mikerphone, More, Jackie O’s, New Image, Other Half, and Lil’ Beaver. Forbidden Root will also tap two of their own barrel-aged beers. You’re going to need food for all these bangers and, unlike a majority of the pre-party events here, Forbidden Root’s got you covered, with duck, a chicken sandwich (regular and spicy), and an insanely giant pork schnitzel sandwich. And don’t forget the burger that perennially lands on the Best Of Chicago lists. It’s delicious.
Thursday, November 3 – Saturday, November 5
Solemn Oath Brewery, 1661 Quincy Ave #179, Naperville, IL 60540
Solemn Oath Still Life, 2919 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
If you’re not planning on hitting FoBAB (but why, tickets are still available), then SOBAB might be for you. The only event that officially runs during the FoBAB festival itself, SOBAB will feature barrel-aged beers from Solemn Oath and Hidden Hand (Solemn Oath’s side brewery) as well as from Resident Culture. The Resident Culture stuff looks limited though so the earlier the better. For those attending either session of FoBAB, Solemn Oath Still Life makes much more sense to hit up as opposed to its Naperville location.
Friday, November 4
Barrel Aged Cuppa Bonanza
Maplewood Brewery & Distillery, 2717 N. Maplewood, Chicago, IL 60647; 11 AM
More for those that are attending the Saturday session or who really want to push themselves to the limit on Friday, Maplewood will be tapping (and releasing if you won on Oznr) their 2022 Barrel Aged Cuppa beers. The fun starts at 11 AM with the tapping of BA Cuppas Vanilla Rye and Cinnamon Double Coconut along with a “super limited 2021 Cuppa variant.” If that turns out to be Cuppa Neat, you’ll definitely want to stop by. Have a few at The Lounge then swing by Owen & Engine for some lunch to get you prepped for the main event later that night.