Tribes Alehouse Beer Fest lets the beer do all the talking


He’s done it again.

That was the first thing that popped into my head as I fervently scanned the beer list for the 2nd Annual Tribes Alehouse Beer Fest in late July. But how the hell did he do it?

Last year’s inaugural fest, which I affectionately coined a “beer geek’s paradise,” brought together 18 of the best breweries in the country to pour 35 rare and one-off beers. It took place on the patio of Tribes’ Tinley Park location (its original location is in Mokena). Never before had I witnessed such an outstanding offering of beers all in one place. And never again did I expect to experience such an event.

So you can imagine how downright mind-boggling it was for me to grasp how Tribes Owner Niall Freyne managed to not only match the wonderment of last year’s fest but somehow up the ante.

For starters, he was able to squeeze in another six breweries (24 total) and bring the total number of pours to about 50. Even with these additions, there was still plenty of room for attendees on the patio thanks to the ticket limits for each of the two sessions. I was also glad again to see not one volunteer pouring this year – only brewery and distributor reps. Going against my own personal rule, I attended the second session and was pleased to hear of only one brewery tapping out early (maybe Dark Horse is running low on volume due to their recent spike in reality TV popularity?).

No matter how you slice it, it all comes down to the beers. While most fests might have one or two barrel-aged or sour offerings, Tribes Alehouse Beer Fest poured a wide selection of each style. A few beers from years past even found their way into the fest. My favorites from the day were Half Acre’s Beer Hates Astronauts, an IPA bursting with grassy, hoppy aromas and notes; Surly’s Cacao Bender, its brown ale infused with coffee, vanilla beans and cacao nibs; Revolution’s Tribal Hero, a collaboration IPA with Tribes that was ripe with tropical fruit notes; and 4 Hands’ Passion Fruit Prussia, a wonderfully done Berliner Weisse.

As if you need any further convincing to get your tickets early for next year’s fest, here’s the full list of beers:

Hamon Hamarth – Imperial Smoker Porter (12.5% abv)
London Balling – English-Style Barleywine aged in Angel’s Envy bourbon barrels (12.5% abv)

Limited #6: Imperial Brown Ale – Imperial Nut Brown (8.2% abv)
Session Pale with Calypso – Session Ale made with Calypso hops (5% abv)

Bourbon Barrel-Aged Kalamazoo Stout – (6% abv)
Berry Ale – Fruit Ale made with blackberries and raspberries (5.4% abv)

Smokestack Series Rye-on-Rye – Imperial Rye (12% abv)
Smokestack Series Two Jokers Double-Wit – Wit Bier spiced with cardamom, lavender and grains of paradise (8% abv)

Zaison – Imperial Saison brewed with telicherry peppercorns and sweet orange peel (9% abv)
Whiskey Rooster – Whiskey Barrel-Aged Big Red Coq, a Citra Belgo Red IPA (6.7% abv)

Bourbon Barrel-Aged Plead the Fifth – Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels (14% abv)
Reign in Blood – Blood Orange IPA (5.5% abv)

Adambier – German Sour (13.5% abv)
Saint Dekkera Reserve Sour Ale – Sour blueberry, single barrel, unblended (5.5% abv)

Helldorado – Blond Barleywine hopped with El Dorado hops (11.7% abv)
Anniversary XVII – American Strong Ale blend of Bravo Imperial Brown and Stickee Monkee barrel-aged Quad (13.3% abv)

Devil Dancer – Triple IPA (12% abv)
Mystery Firkin – Porter infused with Thai chiles and raspberry extract (abv unknown)

Passion Fruit Prussia – Passion Fruit Berliner Weisse (3.5% abv)
Snake Oil – Red IPA hopped with Galaxy, Citra, Amarillo and Simcoe hops (6% abv)

Old Man Grumpy – Experimental Pale Ale (5.5% abv)
Vintage 2012 Nightstalker – Imperial Stout (11.7% abv)

Beer Hates Astronauts – IPA (7% abv)
Navaja- Double IPA (10% abv)

Barrel-Aged Boris – Imperial Stout aged in Heaven Hill barrels (9.4% abv)
Hopped Up Goose Juice – Rye IPA (7% abv)

’07 Gnarly Wine – Barleywine brewed in 2007 (10.6% abv)
Fusion 19 on Whiskey - Hoppy Brown Ale aged in High West Distillery’s “Boulevardier” barrels (7.2% abv)

Grätzer (collab with Three Floyds) - Smoked Wheat Ale (4.5% abv)
NBB Loves Leopold – Oscar Dark Sour aged in blackberry whiskey barrel (6% abv)

Black Mamba – Dunkelweizen (5.8% abv)
Bourbon Barrel-Aged Chaka – Belgian Ale aged in 5 months in a George Dickel bourbon barrel (8.8% abv)

Paradesiac – Wit beer brewed with kiwis and strawberries (7% abv)
Simcoe Imperial Pale Ale – (9.5% abv)

Tribal Hero (collab with Tribes) - IPA dry-hopped with Amarillo and Galaxy hops (6.8% abv)
Filibuster – Imperial Wheat Ale aged in a mix of Old Forester and Wood Reserve barrels (11.5% abv)

Chico King (collab with Three Floyds) – American Pale Ale (6.5% abv)
There & Back (collab with New Glarus) – English-Style Bitter (5.6% abv)

Foux du Fafa – Imperial Farmhouse IPA (5.6% abv)
Pyrros (collab with Stone) – Red Farmhouse Ale (6.8% abv)

2012 Double Bastard Ale with Dark Toasted Oak – Strong Ale (10.7% abv)
The Tiger Cub – Saison aged in white wine barrels (7.7% abv)

2012 Darkness – Vintage Russian Imperial Stout (9.8% abv)
Cacao Bender – Brown Ale infused with coffee, vanilla beans and cacao nibs (5.5% abv)

Cimmerian Sabertooth Berzerker – Imperial IPA (9% abv)
Yum Yum - Pale Ale (5.5% abv)

Puff the Magic Cyser – Cyser aged in New Holland Dragon’s Milk barrels (8.5% abv)

Chocolate City – Ice coffee


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>