Collectible brew draws a crowd at Flossmoor Station

  Craft beer fans (from left) Rich Malinkowski, Steven
  Devries and Frank Devries arrived at Flossmoor Station
  at 9 a.m. Friday to make sure they could buy Wooden
  Hell 2, a barleywine brew that hasn't been made in
   over 10 years.
(Photos by Patty Houlihan/H-F Chronicle)
 
About 150 beer lovers lined up outside Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery on Friday, waiting for a brew that is so rare a single bottle can fetch $1,000 among collectors.
 
But Frank Devries of Oak Forest plans to drink it.
 
Devries, who arrived at 9 a.m. with his son, Steven Devries of La Grange Park and friend Rich Malinowski of New Lenox, said he’ll share it with neighbors over the weekend.
 
“Life is too damned short,” the elder Devries said.
 
  Current and former
  Flossmoor Station
  Brewmasters Ryan Czaja
  and Matt Van Wyk, also
  known as the guys behind
  WoodenHell2, are ready 
  for beer lovers to arrive 
  for the brew's release 
  on Friday. 

 
The rare brew that drew the crowd is Wooden Hell 2, a barleywine beer that continues to age well even after bottled. Flossmoor Station’s former brewmaster Matt Van Wyk first crafted it in 2006.
 
“It helped put us in the top breweries in the country at the Great American Beer Festival that year, and we’ve been there ever since,” said Carolyn Armstrong, who owns the brew pub at 1035 Sterling with her husband, Dean. 

Flossmoor Station brewmaster Ryan Czaja collaborated last summer with Van Wyk to brew the beverage again. It has been aging in Woodford Reserve Bourbon barrels.
 
Malinowski recalls trying it more than 10 years ago. “It was good,” he said. 
 
In fact, he took the day off work Friday to make sure he could buy it again ― even though the limit was only two 22-ounce bottles per customer. 
 
Armstrong said online pre-sales sold out in one minute. So while some craft beer lovers, a mostly white and mostly male crowd, turned up to pick up their purchases, many more stood shoulder to shoulder in a line that snaked from the front of the building north into the Metra station parking lot hoping for the chance to buy Wooden Hell 2. Cost was $20 per bottle.
 
Some brought along their own brew to sip while they waited. Everyone drank water provided throughout the day by Flossmoor Station, and several stepped inside for a burger. 
 
Malinowski and Steven Devries said they would probably save their bottles for two or three years. But they would also have a chance to sample it on tap at Flossmoor Station that afternoon.
 
“The police and the village officials have been wonderful and a huge help,” Armstrong said of the municipal crowd control. 
 
But she was not surprised at the crowd it drew. 
 
“This beer is awesome,” she said.

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