Before starting Uptown's Spiteful Brewing in 2012, native Chicagoans Brad Shaffer and Jason Klein spent three years slaving over a hot stove, perfecting their homebrew and learning all they could about small-scale brewing -- and it looks to be paying off. This 3.5-barrel nano cranks out an impressively huge portfolio while also keeping things local, with distribution limited to the Windy City and its closest 'burbs. Of particular note is Spiteful's God Damn Pigeon Porter, a deceptively smooth 8.2% ABV British-American hybrid peppered with piney Simcoe hops and grounded in a bready amber malt. Spiteful also spits out an entire lin of God Damn variants in addition to the OG porter. Each member of the G-D Porter fam showcases different flavor infusions, with options ranging from raspberry and chocolate-banana to toffee, coconut, and even good ol' peanut butter and jelly -- and, yes, they're all as delicious as they sound.
Early last year, award-winning homebrewer Mary Izett teamed up with Fuhmentaboudit! podcast co-host (and adoring husband) Chris Cuzme to form Cuzett Libations, a gypsy outfit currently working out of Greenpoint Beer Works' Brooklyn facility. Izett recently penned Speed Brewing, a how-to bible on quick fermentation, and Cuzme, a saxophone-touting fixture of the local beer scene, cut his teeth as the brewmaster in charge of SoHo's now-shuttered 508 Gastrobrewery. With their powers combined, the couple is a force to be reckoned with, putting out a growing number of irresistible ales like their delicate, floral Cuzett Grisette and Revenge of the Emu, a mellow, juicy blonde that, at 5.4% ABV, is as crushable as the day is long. While they're draft-only for now, the power couple plans to up production as well as diversify their output over the next year, so be on the lookout for more exciting libations popping up around NYC.
Unless you're a train-hopping crust punk or a lazy dad on Halloween, you probably haven’t heard the term "hobo" in a while. Coined in the late 19th century to describe vagabonds wandering the rails, the word was associated with ruggedness and self-reliance. That's exactly why Nowhere In Particular's Charlie Navillus (a pseudonym, of course) compares hoboism with today's fiercely independent craft-brewing culture. "For more than 30 years, craft beer provided safe haven to the hobos," reads Navillus' oh-so-cryptic manifesto. "One needs only to look at a gathering of craft brewers, with their scraggly beards, their worn, weathered faces and their hodgepodge wardrobe to see the vestigial remnants of hobo culture." The man does have a point. After a few stints at award-winning breweries in Colorado, Canada, and New England, the talented Ohioan returned home to begin his gypsy-brewing journey. Navillus rarely reuses a borrowed system, never brews the same beer twice, and gravitates toward bespoke and experimental styles. One of his weirdest -- and tastiest -- is Inari Okami, a dry 8.5% ABV double rice IPA brewed with tropical Mosaic hops. It’s tough to pin down where and when you'll come across a Nowhere In Particular creation, but if you do, you better jump on it -- like their maker, these brews tend to vanish just as quickly and mysteriously as they appeared. Continue Reading