Rock Bottom Cincinnati’s brewer Mitch Dougherty is having a good year. Especially when he’s in Chicago. Back in April he won a bronze at the World Beer Cup that was being held there. Last Saturday he retuned to the city and added a gold medal at the Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer in the “Classic Styles” category.
He gave his entry the name “Sarah’s Two Headed Buffalo.” It turns out that Mitch’s girlfriend Sarah loves Buffalo Trace bourbon. In a happy coincidence, Mitch brews his own version of Boulder Brewing’s Buffalo Gold which is, unsurprisingly, a Golden Ale. Combine all of those facts in a Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrel for several months, and you have yourself an award-winning beer.
Mitch tapped the beer last night at Rock Bottom. There’s not a lot of it, and, as he said “when it’s gone it’s gone.” You owe it to yourself to get down there and try some.
Here’s the full press release about the event:
Red Poppy from San Diego County’s Lost Abbey won the Champion Wood Aged Beer for 2010 award at the Nation Wood Aged Beer Competition, held annually during the The Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beersm in Chicago. A Flanders red-style ale, Red Poppy is produced with sour cherries and aged in French oak barrels for one year. “I was shocked to see that Red Poppy took down all the big beers,” said Tomme Arthur, Director of Operations for Port Brewing/Lost Abbey. “At 5.% ABV, it was a bit unexpected (although we do love the beer!)”
Held in early November, The Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beersm is the oldest and largest festivalin the world to feature only beers aged in or on wood. Founded in 2003 at Rock Bottom at State and Grand in Chicago, the event was moved to the Chicago Journeyman Plumbers’ Local Union 130 Stephen M. Bailey Auditorium in 2008. Over 1800 people sampled 156 beers (plus two barrel-aged ciders) from breweries representing nearly half of the United States at the eighth annual event on November 6th, 2010.
Over the past eight years, The Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beersm has featured some of the rarest beers in the world from breweries as far away as Alaska and Hawaii as well as at home from the greater Chicagoland area. Attendees can sample beers that may only be available at the brewery and then only for a limited time. “We are thrilled that breweries nationwide choose our event to feature their best wood-aged beer,” said Jeff Sparrow, the event organizer. “Barrel aged craft beer started right here in Chicago,” added Peter Crowley, President of the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, “and we are excited to see brewers everywhere push the boundaries with wood aging.”
A panel of industry experts judge each beer in the National Wood Aged Beer Competition against a set of standard guidelines. Each judge has experience with barrel aging and/or significant sensory experience, and award gold, silver and bronze medals in ten categories. Rather than beers being judged largely on wood aging and strength, categories reflect the underlying beer style. Each beer is judged on the basis of how that underlying style reflects the expression of wood and/or barrel character. Several of the most experienced judges selected the best of show from among the category winners: The Champion Wood Aged Beer for 2010.
The Illinois Craft Brewers Guild is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1997, dedicated to promote the development and expansion of the craft beer industry in Illinois. More details are available at www.illinoisbeer.com.
This post has not been revised since publication.