The Vas Review – Spiteful Brewing

A weekly review of Vas Foremost’s craft beer offerings.

Brad Shaffer and Jason Klein have been friends since childhood. They are such good friends that they A) wear half-heart chain necklaces that connect to each other or B) started a brewery together in 2010. In this case, it’s the latter. In this week’s Vas Review, I drink up two beers from another toddler-aged brewery in Chicago, Spiteful Brewing. Cheers!

 

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I lost 5 pounds by switching to the Fat Badger weight loss system!

Fat Badger

Style: Irish Red Ale

ABV: 7.6%

It may not be March, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy what the Irish have to offer. No, I’m not talking about that Irish Dry Stout that starts with a “G” and ends with a “uinness” and that comes to us from Africa (sad, but true). I am talking about the other, lesser known Irish contribution to the beer world – the Irish Red Ale. It’s history is a mystery for the most part but its wonderful taste is undeniable. Leave your gluttony at the door, folks and indulge in Spiteful Brewing’s Fat Badger.

If you quit looking at the wonderful designed label of the literal fat badger, you’ll see a muddily opaque brown ale. Yes, it’s brown and not red. Some beers in this style category will see a red hue, but some won’t.

Before we drink, we take a nose to the aroma. There is a wide range of influence going on here from the west coast of the U.S. to the British Isles. The British brewing influence shows us caramel, toffee, biscuit, and a malty backbone. Unique to this beer, the aroma has a moderately strong hop presence with some pine notes. Typically, you won’t see that in an Irish Red. For the most part in this style, hop aroma and flavors are restrained. (Damn American influence.)

Spoiler alert! The beer tastes nothing like the pizza and hamburger on the label. You find me a man who can make a beer taste like that, and I’ll start signing my paychecks over to him immediately. Fat Badger is a malt party in my mouth. It’s slightly fruity, showing toasted malt notes, toffee, caramel, biscuit, and some breadiness. The hops crash the party and show off a wet pine tree-like flavor. (Wet pine tree…don’t you just love how beer geeks sell the flavors in a beer?) The beer itself is pretty thick and it dries out a little bit on the backend leaving a breaded fruitiness behind.

I lied a little bit in the past paragraph. As it turns out, I don’t want my beer to taste like pizza and hamburgers. I want my beer to taste like this. So let’s all turn a little bit Irish and kiss the first red-head we see.

 

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Nice nose, Marcus.

Jingle Balls

Style: Winter Warmer

ABV: 7.6%

Jingle Balls…enough said. Spiteful Brewing takes aim to warm up our taste buds and tickle our funny bone with their new winter ale. Think the label for Fat Badger was clever? Wait ‘til you see this one. Let the innuendos fly as the holiday cheer lowers our inhibitions. Marcus, show me what you got.

Jingle Balls

Dashing through this beer
Flavors of ginger and nutmeg are clear
Cinnamon bread on the nose
Fruitiness and caramel impose

Some woodiness from the hops
and a cherry put right on top
what fun is it to laugh and drink
a beer from Spiteful Brewing

O!

Jingle Balls
Jingle Balls
A thick mouthfeel that finishes dry
No need to try
the jokes are implied
and better than I could provide

Jingle Balls
Jingle Balls
raise your glasses with a toast
just take a peak
if you want to see
what’s underneath Marcus’s mistletoe.

See you next week!

Additional offerings from Spiteful Brewing available at Vas Foremost include: Time Stealers Molasses Porter, Corporate Guy Wheat, Pigeon Porter, Alley Time Pale Ale, Negative Nancy Imperial Red, GFY Stout, Debbie Downer Dunkelweizen, and In the Weeds Wheat.

 

Steve Pasko is a Certified Cicerone® and the Beer Content Writer for Vas Foremost. Follow him on Twitter or Untappd at Gardemybiere. Email him at Gardemybiere@gmail.com or Steve@vasforemost.com. 

The Vas Review – Lake Effect

A weekly review of Vas Foremost’s craft beer offerings.

Dreams can come true. For Clint Bautz and Lynn Ford, Lake Effect Brewing Company is the realization of a dream. In dog years, this brewery is still a puppy. In this week’s Vas Review I sample two beers from the new brewery on the northwest side of Chicago that everybody is talking about.

 

Lake Effect Snow

Ugh, don't remind me.

Ugh, don’t remind me.

Style: Witbier

ABV: 5.5%

I’ve prepared well for this one. I’ve assembled a couple of extra blankets, some hand warmers, and a 60-pound dog who loves to cuddle. Grab the bottle opener and lift the cap off of Lake Effect Snow. (No, not the dreaded precipitation that causes us to have an impromptu car abandonment party on Lake Shore Drive.) Lake Effect Snow is a Witbier from Chicago’s own Lake Effect Brewery.

Lake Effect Snow (Snow from here on out) pours out the middle of a blizzard, cloudy and temptingly opaque. With my snow pants, gloves and jacket on I push forward into the beer. The aroma makes me forget about the cold with orange citrus, coriander spice, and fresh cut hay from the farm. If that weren’t enough, a slight woodiness from the hops and a touch of lemon and pepper from the yeast have me pulling out my grill thinking my friends are coming over for a summer BBQ.

It’s time to embrace the inevitable and welcome the Snow into my life.

Be prepared for a spicy, peppery and coriander taste upon the first sip. The citrus from the aroma translates into a lemongrass taste with a very gentle bitter orange settling in mid-palette. Into the vocabulary of a beer geek we must go for the next taste – hay. Yes, hay. I’m sure most of us without an older brother have never tasted hay. But we all know what it smells like and could take a guess on to what it tastes like. In this case, the hay flavor is most certainly welcome as it balances the citrus and pepper tastes, lending a drinkable dryness to the beer.

So embrace Lake Effect Snow and have a snowball fight, go sledding or make a snow angel. Just make sure you drink this beer after the festivities, and not during. (After all, spilling beer is one of the seven deadly sins.)

 

Falcon Dive IPA

Rodents beware!

Rodents beware!

Style: American-Style India Pale Ale

ABV: 7.0%

Ah, the American IPA. The most popular and best-selling style of craft beer in the United States. Known for its more pronounced bitterness and flavors of citrus and pine, this style of beer has burrowed its way into our hearts and set up a nest in there. Lake Effect Brewing Company tries its hand at the style with Falcon Dive IPA.

Falcon Dive pours out a copper tangerine hue, proudly showing its feathers. Darting quickly out of the trees is a fruity aroma highlighted by a fresh squeezed orange citrus aroma. Hidden a little bit more in the forrest are some biscuit, toffee and toasted malt aromas.

Squawk! What about the cracker?!

Crackers? Yes, they’re in there. But…aren’t you a falcon?

Interruptions aside, the first thing that hits you in the taste is a mineral-like tingle. Don’t worry – that’s supposed to be there. I’d get into a water chemistry lesson to explain, but wouldn’t we just rather drink the beer at this point? Caged up inside this brew are several distinct flavors: pine, resin, citrus and that biscuit/cracker-malt taste that Polly likes so much. There is a fairly potent bitterness that comes through, especially on the back end. It mellows out on the after taste, leaving behind some melon and toasted malt flavors.

Don’t be afraid to let this bird out of its cage. It’s friendly, doesn’t bite, and could perform some nice tricks (if you drink enough of it). And if you twaut you taw a puddy tat, put some Falcon Dive IPA in a saucer bowl for it. Cats like beer, right?

Another offering from Lake Effect available at Vas Foremost is Cruisin’ for a Brewsin’ .

 

Steve Pasko is a Certified Cicerone® and the Beer Content Writer for Vas Foremost. Follow him on Twitter or Untappd at Gardemybiere. Email him at Gardemybiere@gmail.com.