I first encountered Ravenswood’s Spiteful Brewing, founded in January 2010 by childhood friends Brad Shaffer and Jason Klein, last month at the Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer, where they made their public debut with a version of their G.F.Y. Stout that they’d aged (by the taste of it rather briefly) in a freshly dumped bourbon barrel from Evanston’s Few Spirits. According to a post at Girls Like Beer Too, the Spiteful guys operate in a space that’s just 480 square feet—an argument for the use of the term “nanobrewery.”

You might already recognize the Spiteful logo, because Shaffer worked as a bike messenger for much of the past two years and plastered the brewery’s stickers all over town during his rounds. But the G.F.Y. Stout, their first commercially available beer, didn’t arrive on store shelves till December 5—it’s now available at a bunch of Binny’s locations, Fischman Liquors, and Capones Liquor. I paid nine bucks for mine. Follow Spiteful on Twitter for updates on releases and locations.

Shaffer and Klein also have a Christmas ale in the works, for which they juiced four pounds of ginger by hand. I don’t generally care much for holiday beers, unless they’re Belgian—I don’t get why the Great Lakes Christmas Ale has a cult following, for instance—but that detail about the ginger has piqued my curiosity. Powdered ginger just makes me think of cookies, but the fresh stuff can have a real bite.

Philip Montoro

Philip Montoro has been an editorial employee of the Reader since 1996 and its music editor since 2004. Pieces he has edited have appeared in Da Capo’s annual Best Music Writing anthologies in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. He shared two Lisagor Awards in 2019 for a story on gospel pioneer Lou Della Evans-Reid, and he’s also split two national awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia: one for multimedia in 2019 for his work on the TRiiBE collaboration the Block Beat, and one in in 2020 for editing the music writing of Reader staffer Leor Galil. Philip has played scrap metal in Lozenge, drummed with the Disasters, the Afflictions, and Brilliant Pebbles, and sung for the White Outs. He wrote the column Beer and Metal from 2012 till 2015, and hopes to do so again one day. You can also follow him on Twitter.