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Wear a Sweater, Light a Fire, and Drink These Cozy Beers

Here are five superlative winter brews debuting at the Festival of Wood & Barrel-Aged Beer that you can find at taprooms.

Noon Whistle Brewing’s Rob Boss Did It Scotch Ale, Old-Fashioned. The festival runs November 8 to 9 at UIC Forum.   Photo: Jeff Marini

Rob Boss Did It Scotch Ale, Old-Fashioned

Noon Whistle Brewing

Noon Whistle releases a barrel-aged Scotch ale yearly, with this year’s taking a turn toward the cocktail bar. Brewers rest the smoky Scotch ale in a Heaven Hill bourbon barrel with orange peels and Luxardo cherries, a nod to an old-fashioned, Chicago’s favorite whiskey cocktail. 800 Roosevelt Rd., Lombard

Orenda, Volumes 2 and 3

Pollyanna Brewing Company

If it ain’t broke, don’t switch the barrels: Pollyanna has medaled with its Orenda Belgian-style beers for two years running. This year’s feature rich fruit notes from resting in brandy barrels. Volume 2 is a bready quadrupel (a strong dark ale) that’s aged in a grape-brandy barrel. Volume 3 is a tripel (a spicy ale with malt sweetness) that’s aged in an apple-brandy barrel. 431 Talcott Ave., Lemont

Gin-Barrel-Aged Stealing Sunshine

Black Horizon Brewing Company

Black Horizon won a bronze medal at last year’s festival for a gin-barrel-aged pale ale, and it’s sticking with gin barrels for this new blood orange sour ale, which is matured in Koval Distillery barrels. The tart, juicy beer replicates a bright cocktail such as a gimlet, says brewer Alex Stankus: “We want the tartness and gin botanicals to really sing.” 7560 S. Quincy St., Willowbrook

Barrel-aged Belligerent Bob Barleywine

Spiteful Brewing

“The first time we ever brewed it, we won gold,” says co-founder and co-owner Jason Klein. This means Spiteful’s barleywine brings some serious swagger when it returns this year. This malt-forward beer — barleywine is named for the extra grains that raise the alcohol to wine level — is toffee sweet with a bit of hop sharpness. It plays nicely with the oak and bourbon accents from Buffalo Trace barrels. 2024 W. Balmoral Ave., Bowmanville

Cherry Hyper Giant

Alter Brewing Company

The barrel-aged stout category offers stiff competition at the festival, but Alter sets itself apart by aiming for “a liquid version of a chocolate-covered cherry,” says co-founder and co-owner Mark Hedrick. To get that, its brewers age Imperial Endeavour stout in Buffalo Trace barrels, then rest it on Montmorency cherries. 2300 Wisconsin Ave., Downers Grove

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