Dayton Beer Company founder Peter Hilgeman calls it “quite possibly the most competitive beer competition we enter.”
And his brewery’s beer passed the test.
DBC captured a bronze medal for its barrel-aged Lost Tunnel Deep Sea Diving Sea Salt Stout at the 2018 Festival of Wood & Barrel-Aged Beer’s National Barrel Aged Beer Competition held over the weekend in Chicago.
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The medal win came in the Special Experimental Beer category for the milk stout that is brewed with sea salt and vanilla beans, then aged in Bookers Bourbon barrels. The non-barrel-aged version of the beer was one of the original year-round releases announced when Dayton Beer Company launched the Lost Tunnel brand in 2017.
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The Chicago-based FOBAB festival and competition drew more than 400 entries from across the country, and unlike some competitions, has a relatively small number of categories available in which breweries can win medals.
The event bills itself as “the world’s largest and most prestigious barrel-aged beer festival and competition ... . More than 200 craft breweries from across the United States will showcase their rarest, most innovative wood and barrel-aged brews.” The results were posted online by www.porchdrinking.com, which also live-streamed the medal announcements.
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Hilgeman said the significance of medal recognition from such a competition “is huge for us. We committed to expanding our barrel aging program over a year ago, and this award recognizes that we are making world class barrel-aged beers on par with the best brewers in the country. We couldn't be more excited to not only bring it home for us personally but for the Dayton community as well. It’s help let people know Dayton is home to world class breweries we can be proud of.”
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Hilgeman gave a shout-out to Warped Wing — like Dayton Beer Company, a brewery based in downtown Dayton — which captured a gold medal at the same competition last year for its Chardonnay Barn Gang specialty saison aged in chardonnay barrels.
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Cincinnati-based brewery Rhinegeist captured a gold medal this year in the Wild Beer/Sour category for its Perpetual Passions.
Nationwide, craft breweries that are riding the wave of interest in local and specialty beers have been increasingly turning to wood-aging and bourbon/spirits-barrel-aging to add complexity, nuances and longevity to their specialty beers.