Winter Is Coming—And So Are the Stouts

Photo courtesy of Goose Island Clybourn

Winter is coming, and the stouts are out. Whether barrel-aged, oatmeal, or spiced, they’re dark and often boozy and oh so welcome on a winter’s day. Bourbon County Stout will be released on the traditional Black Friday rush at the end of the month, but many of Chicago’s more independent and equally creative breweries will be vending their barrel-aged dark stuff in the weeks to come.

Photo courtesy of Begyle Brewing Company

Revolution’s Deep Wood Series Preview Party
Revolution staggers barrel releases throughout the colder months, when we need them so badly. Next, it will release Straight Jacket (a barrel-aged barley wine) and V.S.O.R. (a rye ale aged in rye barrels, a gold medal winner at this year’s FoBAB) at the Kedzie taproom. But don’t just twiddle your thumbs, because several bars and liquor stores are offering tastings on Thursday, like Bub City, Links, and Red Star Bar; you can check the link for the rest.
Details: November 14, 6–8 p.m.

2019 Barrel-Aged Imperial Pajamas Release
Excitement for Begyle Brewing isn’t a new thing for Chicago drinkers, but a gold medal win for BA Imperial Pajamas at GABF in the highly competitive barrel-aged strong stout category means Begyle’s buzz is at an all-time high. This all-day release party features $18 22-ounce bombers, variant tappings throughout the day, and food from the Fat Shallot and Amy’s Candy Bar.
Details: November 15, noon–10 p.m.

Half Acre’s Benthic Online Sales Open
Half Acre makes a lot of beer, both in quantity and variety, but Benthic is definitely the heaviest and most indulgent beer in its arsenal: an imperial stout conditioned with coffee and toasted coconut and bourbon barrel-aged, coming in at 14% ABV. There are also flavorsome variants each year, like Cinnamon Toast Crunch and York Peppermint Patty. Online sales go live November 15, and pickup begins at the brewery November 22–December 1. There will also be a shindig at the Lincoln taproom for release day.
Details: November 15, 10 a.m.

Chicago Beer Society Presents: 2019 Fall Tasting and Dinner
Experience the thrill of being a beer judge by participating in this blind tasting of Chicagoland craft breweries, then vote on your favorites. I can’t imagine a better way to connect with all of the city’s great brews without any preconceived bias. Also, the evening includes an amazing buffet-style Polish meal.
Details: November 16, 6–10 p.m.; $65

Photo courtesy of Open Outcry Brewing Company

3rd Annual Open Outcry Brewing Harvest Fest & Bazaar
Open Outcry’s stylish Southside taproom will be transformed into a shopping destination, with goods from more than a dozen local businesses and artisans along with all of its delightful brews to consume while considering the perfect holiday gifts. Plus, delicious pub fare will be available from its kitchen.
Details: November 16, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Prop Day Consolation Vertical
First came Bourbon County Brand Stout, and the feverish love grew into a chaotic beer release. Then came BCS Proprietor’s Blend, and the cutthroat demand spawned Prop Day, a limited event outside the Fulton brewery prior to Black Friday where all variants can be sampled and Proprietor’s Blend bottles can be purchased by those lucky enough to win a lottery position to buy an online ticket. But if you’re not one of those people, then just go to the Clybourn brewery—it will be tapping a limited amount of 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018 Proprietor’s.
Details: November 17, 6–10 p.m.

Chicago’s Golden GABF Victory Lap
Jerry’s Andersonville is honoring Chicago’s gold medal winners from this year’s Great American Beer Festival, with winners pouring: Off Color’s Very, Very Far (a subtle and spicy Belgian blonde ale), Old Irving’s Beezer (a fruity and smooth hazy IPA), and Begyle’s Barrel Aged Imperial Pajamas (an imperial oatmeal stout aged in Heaven Hill barrels.) Plus, a few other tappings from the winning breweries, like Off Color’s delicious Miscellania Wild Ale and a couple out-of-state winners: Odd Side Ales Rye Hipster Brunch and AleSmith Private Stock Ale.
Details: November 19, 6:30–9:30 p.m.

We Are Family
It’s Pride in November at the Revolution Kedzie Taproom! One hundred percent of draft and packaged sales of Freedom of Expression (a strawberry and rhubarb session sour) from this event will be donated to Chicago House and Social Service Agency. There will also be music and silent auction items.
Details: November 22, 6–11 p.m.

Mother Truckin’ Booze Fest
It’s craft beer, hard seltzers and cocktails, Lucha Libre wrestling, and food trucks galore. It’s the Mother Truckin’ Booze Fest, and it’s happening at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates. Look for live music, a beer pong tournament, face painting, a balloon artist (yeah, it’s 21 and over). Also, there’s a broad variety of both local and national breweries, and it may be the only event where you can sample both Bourbon County Stout and Four Loko. Just sayin’.
Details: November 23, 1:15–5:15 p.m.; $45 for general admission and $65 for VIP

Barrel-Aged Krampus Cookies Bottle Release
Old Irving Brewing Co. was another big Chicago winner at this year’s GABF with a gold medal for Beezer hazy IPA. Now riding on the cold winds of winter, Krampus Cookies comes with it’s barrel-aged decadence and desirable variants like Champurrado Krampus with cinnamon and chilies, and Breakfast Krampus with maple and Dark Matter Coffee. On November 26 at 11a.m., online ticket sales go live for purchase of all three beers ($20 each); you can then bring tickets for pickup at the taproom November 26–December 4. Easy.
Details: November 26