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Monday, August 25, 2014

Spiteful Brewing's Worst Commuter

  • Style: Tripel (American)
  • ABV: 9.9%
  • Ease to locate:Spiteful delivers in and around Chicago.  They aren't wonderful on updating their Twitter or FB page with delivery notifications, so you'll need to rely on your local craft store to let you know when they are in.  Spiteful does post interesting photos from time to time.
  • Color: Golden liquid with strong orange tones.  Barely hazy with lots of visible carbonation
  • Head: Half a finger of white foam that falls almost immediately.  Second pour produced a bit more head, but with the same lack of retention.  No lacing to speak of really.
  • Aroma: Citrus characters sweetened with a definite honey note. Fruity esters (stone fruit mainly) and a very faint spiciness.
  • Mouthfeel: Medium leaning towards full.  A bit syrupy, yet nicely carbonated.  Easy to drink.
  • Finish: Short.  Blending from sweet to citrus to honey herbal note. 
  • Food friendly?:  Yes.  I would use the sweetness to play off of the meatiness of food like sausages or pork tenderloin.  You could also serve it with many fall vegetables, such as roasted butternut squash or sweet potatoes.
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Apple user's link: At least the upper deck offers a good view

                                                                   This is basically what the Belmont buss looked like at 7:45 AM during my high school days. Only with less bad perms. 


Back in the day, the Belmont bus was not for the faint of heart.  Six separate high schools and anyone else stupid or desperate enough to cram themselves into the odd nook, piled into the luxurious green machine for our early morning commute.  It was a soul crushing, over used body spray, tight permed, sardine can for the approximately five miles it took to reach my high school (which, of course, was the last stop on the route)  Now, some of you may be thinking "I took a bus to school every morning.  What is she whining about now?"  The Belmont bus was not a cute little yellow school bus with the wheels going round and round.  It was a sickly green, diesel fumed Chicago public transport bus.  It smelled before we even got on the damn thing and I'm pretty sure that it was older than I was at the time.  The air conditioning blasted in the winter and nothing (including the windows) worked in the summer.  An ill fated, yet I suppose kindly in nature,  attempt to save my soul occurred at least once a week.  It usually failed.   I vowed that after I graduated, I'd never ride another one ever again.  Ah, the naivete of youth.  At least now, I can come home, open a bottle of something like Spiteful Brewing's Worst Commuter and try desperately to forget about a ride that even the Four Horseman would find harrowing.



My snifter of Worst Commuter poured a barely hazy, golden liquid with strong hints of orange. I could easily see the rising carbonation (as you can in the photo above.  Go on.  Take a look.  We'll wait.)  The carbonation produced less than half a finger of head that had very little retention or lacing to speak of.  The aroma was that of a typical Tripel.  Lovely orange, lemon, and fruity ester notes sweetened with the distinct scent of honey.  A faint spicy quality was towards the back of the nose.  I've smelled some Abbey ales that have really piled on the booze character, but was glad that Spiteful crafted their version with a bit more care.  I was left with more of an impression of alcohol than any sort of distinct note.  The taste proved to be a bit sweeter than the nose.  The honey note was prominent there as well as some redundant sweetness from (what I'm assuming was ) typical Belgian Candi Sugar.  The sugary quality was tempered by the bitterness from the citrus notes, mainly orange and lemon.  Some fruity stone fruit mingled with the other flavors, as did a bready yeast element.  In the middle of the swallow, I could easily pinpoint a pepper spice note that faded to a very slight alcohol note.  Some times the booziness of certain Abbey Ales can sock you in the face with their alcohol heat.  Worst Commuter just gives you a quick warm(ish) hug instead.  The mouthfell was a bit syrupy, but not cloying.  The abundance of carbonation helped to dry out the mouthfeel and resulted in an easy to drink ale.   The short finish was a surprise to me, but I didn't think it really hurt the drink.  It began with the Candi sugar/honey sweetness, slide into the bitterness of the citrus element.  This was tempered by the peppery spice and faded to an ending with more honey flavor.  I loved that it finished with the honey note, which was just strong enough to remind you of it's importance in this beer, but not heavy enough to make taking a second sip difficult.  It was more than easy, actually.  And easy is exactly how I like my commutes and beer, thank you very much.

I'll admit it.  I wasn't expecting a lot from Spiteful's Worst Commuter when I bought it.   If I was looking for a smack you in the face hopped up sort of IPA, sure, Spiteful would be one of my first choices.  Especially now that they have begun to can many of their more popular beers (such as Alley Time APA.  Yum in a can.)  But since I'm a bit of a sucker for Abbey Ales of all kinds and am always interested in finding tasty local options, I grabbed the bomber.  I'm so very glad that I did.  I'd serve this Tripel with some juicy Homemade Pork Chorizo Sausages (or, if you're pressed for time like a certain female blog writer, just buy some from your local grocery store.  I like Amy's brand personally.)  The sweetness of the honey will play nicely with the slight spiciness of the meat.  You could also roast Butternut Squash Caramelized with Brown Sugar and embrace the pepper & honey notes completely.   And after a long day of dealing with the annoying and utterly dehumanizing act of commuting, I think that you deserve a little lovely beer hug in a glass.  Even if the commute is only from your bedroom to the keyboard.