Showing posts with label Shorts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shorts. Show all posts

May 22, 2014

Short's Superfluid Double American India Pale Ale

     As the debate continues about what is the difference between West Coast vs. East Coast vs. Great Lakes vs. Rocky Mountains vs. (fill in any particular region that is brewing notable brews in the style)  India Pale Ale, Bellaire, Michigan based brewery fans the flames with a bazillion variations on the style. 
     This one, Superfluid, makes a call for preservation of the state's waterways "Clean water makes better beer" statement right on it's label. It has often been wondered what makes the beer coming out of Michigan so good.
     Well, there's one thing that always makes for sure, it's the water we got here.
     Dusty gold is the color here. When held to the light is shine and even sparkles. A medium pour brought out just a minimum head but it has a cap that stays strong through it's entire session with a lacing that leaves a full ring behind.
     On the nose there are scents of apricot, honeysuckle and pine. There's a particular sweetness in the aroma but all the smells blend well together making the anticipation of tasting the beer even more.      
     Giving it a first few sips there is something very interesting in the texture. It has a creamy softness to it that is surrounded by just enough hop resin oiliness to remind you that this is more than just a standard IPA. Once getting a taste too it is learned where the "SUPER" in it's name comes from the hop profile and flavors alone. At the very opening there are grassy and pine oil notes. That quickly steps to the side to let tart and sweet fruit nuances somewhere between cherries and peaches step in and take the taste buds for a little ride. Amidst those juicy flavors a bit of oak woodsiness flits in the background. The different levels of flavor finish with a mix of white pepper, lemon peel and a splash of hibiscus tea.  The 8% adv is hidden quite well amongst all the flavors but it is still quite a fun roller coaster ride with it's curves, cuts and dips.

Aug 13, 2012

Short's Pontius Road Pilsner

     With it being as sweltering, nasty, sticky hot as it has been this Michigan summer the idea of a beer filled with sticky hops or just a general thickness have not been on the top of my sipping list.
     Wanting something a bit light and refresh BUT with flavor after the tastebuds have been attuned to many complexities has lead to a lot of trial, error and disappointments. I knew there was a pilsner out there that would hit the spot though so I kept searching.
      The look of this matched the bright, sunshiny days we've had around here with it's clear, bubbly golden color. It's head small and gone within seconds.
     The aroma is was faint but refreshing with notes of just mowed lawn and lemon slices. Earthy and fizzy. Yep, Smells like a summer day. So far so good.
     The flavor is reminiscent of your standard classic old guy pilsner but a bit more crispness and much more less carbonated corn syrup characteristics. The pilsner malts really stand out in a fresh baked wheat bread kind of way in the front. That's followed by a light but noticeable hop that brings out a white pepper and some bitters in toward the end. That lingers a bit on the finish but doesn't stick around too much to wear out it's welcome on a 97°F day.
     To say that this is the one of the most amazing pilsners I have ever tried with be stretching it a way bit but it is pretty good and worked well with what I was looking for after a day at work then going home to do work in the yard. 

Jan 22, 2011

Short's The Wizard

Here I am a few weeks into a new year and, DAMN!, it's already seeming to fly by. Full time student, full time parent and full time job seeker. Then factor the program director gig along with the mundane day to day things likes laundry, making dinner and trying to fix up an old rickety house that has two new problems for every one that gets fixed and it all makes leisure time a rare commodity. Tonight though I have found some and Bellaire, Michigan's Short's Brewery has released a barley wine called the Wizard so dammit I am going to sit, sip and contemplate what kind of magic it has going on.
The color is on the darker end of the barley wine scale with it's mahogany and ruby shade. The head is minimal and recedes into a constant collar and slightly cloudy cap that hangs on through the entire glass with slight, spotty lacing. Nothing unusual for a barley wine in respects.
What is unusual is almost everything else about it. Short's fancies themselves in making things that are out of the ordinary and this is no exception. For this they've decided to tweak the standard barley wine recipe by adding raisins in to the brewing process. Instead of the green apple and apricot aromas that usually show up as the dominant backbone of most barley wines I've tried in the past this Wizard bears more of a scent along the lines of black cherries and molasses that sends a warming sensation up through the sinuses. One of the most interesting things about the way it smells though is that it's not uncommon to detect the higher end of the alcohol content that barley wines sport but here, even with an approximate ABV of 11%, it's boozy bottom is hardly even noticeable.
The raisin show up first in the flavor. They seem to bring a dark oak like nuance to the brew while throwing in a curve ball of vanilla bean in as an accent. Through the middle and end it's shifts several times on the palette first with a walnut and dark chocolate qualities then ending slightly astringent with a hoppy floral bite. There is quite a warming effect in the finish where otherwise well hidden alcohol content comes out to say hello.
As an introduction to barley wines I would most likely not suggest this to a beginner as it's not the most traditional take on the style but for a veteran looking for something different that can be done with it I'd tell them to put this at the top of their list.

Oct 23, 2010

Short's Bloody Beer

Just in time for Halloween. Nope, not pumpkin beer. I just had to pass on all those this year because I've had more than my share in the past but figured something called Bloody would work well for the seasonal theme and mention instead. What you have here is those crazy beer makers up in Bellaire, Michigan combining the ingredients that go into a Bloody Mary which in this case is Roma tomatoes, tellicherry peppercorns, celery seed, fresh horseradish and dill, brewing it up and bottling it. I'm all about a Bloody Mary almost as much as I am about great beer and judging from the ingredients it seems that they know what goes into a superb Bloody Mary so I was pretty curious about trying this.
There's an obvious red tint in the color from the tomatoes. No head to speak of but there is a somewhat of a runny and spotty lace that doesn't stick around much.
The scent of dill is really strong on the nose along with some slight notes of ground pepper and tomato juice. There is a slight thickness in the beer but hey-WE ARE talking about tomatoes here. The thing is though the flavor of tomato in the brew itself seems a little overrun by the domination of the dill that is all over the place. Letting it breath and adjust to room temp does take a slight edge off that, bringing some of the peppercorn and horseradish hot end but not by much. Dill everywhere.
Now, I can munch on some pickles while enjoying some suds but something here just ain't working for me. I do admire Short's for all their crazy experiments they do with beer. They deserve much credit for their ideas and innovations and but sometimes their things seem to fall into a novelty category. They have many things that get up and throw a no hitter-to these taste buds though, this is not one of their best days on the mound.

Oct 3, 2010

Short's Key Lime Pie

It seems that every week now there's a new limited "weird beer" (Smashin' Transistors blanket term for all the odd and interesting experimental brews that use ingredients outside of you usual hop, malts and so on) made by up-north Michigan brewery Shorts. Almost too many. It's hard for this humble reporter to even keep up at times. On the label of this one it informs the potential drinker that it's brewed with mashmallow and lactose with lime and graham crackers added. Definitely not something the average beer drinker would think is "normal" wouldn't you say?
Burnt orange in color (not lime green but then again that might just be a little too weird) and clear with average sized off white fizzy head that fades somewhat quickly but leaves fair amount of spotty lacing. Lime peel and sweet bready notes (the graham crackers perhaps?) in stick out quite a bit scent. The taste first gives off a sweet milk cream flavor up from followed by a sour candy. There is a creamy texture all the way through the sips of the brew giving it a very soft feeling in the mouth. The lime flavor is noticeable but seems to stick out a little more towards finish even though it gets enveloped again by the sweeter cream flavors. There also seems to be a slight rye tinge in the aftertaste too.
Is this one of my most favorite "weird beers" from Shorts that I have tried? Not really. My vote still goes with their Soft Parade, Nicie Spicie (which is their summer wheat which I have to say kicks Bell's Oberon butt) and Strawberry Shortcake. Is it interesting and drinkable? Yes, for a couple of bottles it is at least. Give it a shot and share it with friends if you see some around. It'll make for some interesting conversation.

Sep 10, 2010

Short's Hangin' Frank IPA

Short's developed this IPA for the City Park Grill in Petoskey, Michigan. The place serves some good grub but is most famous for it being a place Ernest Hemingway like to hang out/hide out at and it being haunted by a ghost named Frank who hanged himself in the cellar of the place about 100 years ago.
Short's has already made a name for itself for it's superpacked with hops flavor of their Huma Lupa Licious. In contrast to that this is a more mellow take on the style. The brew color is a nice burnt orange in color and sports a moderately sized off white head that holds on pretty tight all the way down the glass leaving a lace all over the place. Pine like hops are noticeable in the aroma but there's also a lot of fruit nuances such as pineapple and peaches that come out. It's all anchored by a sweet biscuit like smell of crystal malt.
The hops aren't as aggressive and have more of a sweet fruit flavor than that pucker up sting Huma is known for. That's not to say this lacks the bright-n-green bitters that other Short's more than hop friendly brews but this has a friendly pinch to the tastebuds more than an angry bite.
For anyone who has been considering delving into the craft beer world and doesn't know where to start (and no Leinenkugel, Blue Moon and those specialty Michelob's don't count no matter what the commercials say, how bartenders repeat what the beer salesman told them and what the guy behind me at the beer store who was behind me line was saying while I was purchasing this) here's a great place to begin your discovery.

Jul 24, 2010

Short's Spruce Pilsner

Here's a situation I'm sure many a craft beer aficionado understands. You're at a party and someone spots you with something that isn't a Bud Light, Corona, PBR etc in your hand. The start to engage you in conversation by saying "Oh, drinking one of them weird beers I see." Now, since it is a party it's highly likely you aren't bringing some ultra limited double casked Imperial something or other but most likely something that can be found at any decent grocery store like a Sierra Nevada, Anchor Steam, Bell's or what have you. No matter how you go about telling them that what you are drinking is fairly normal/not weird at all they'd rather not listen and then just tell you how they can get a 12 or 18 pack or whatever and "get hammered all night". In those cases all you can do is shrug and say "Oh cool" and slink away.
In the case of Short's Spruce Pilsner and in that situation though I would have to say "Yep, It's a pretty weird beer." Clear golden in color with a modest head that leaves some interesting looking lacing behind. Let it breathe for less than a minute and you'll seriously find yourself looking around to see who dragged a Christmas tree into the house. Well, I did at least. Beneath the northern Michigan pine forest on a breezy early spring day scent are some citrus hops peeking out.
My initial thought on the flavor was some high end gin with ginger nuances. The pine flavor is really stands out on the first sip and is there all the way from start to finish. And when I say pine I'm not talking the pine qualities a lot of hops have in IPA's or Double/Imperial pilsners. I'm talking "Yep, they aren't kidding when they say on the bottle that it's brewed with Michigan spring blue spruce tips." Nope, not extracts or oils from them but the actual tips of the trees.
Letting it breathe and warm up in the glass slightly the spruce pulls back a bit and the bright and tangy lemon/lime like hops come out a bit more. The finish packs the pine back in tasting somewhat minty in the end. You'll feel warmth all over your body as each sip goes down but not a burn that you might think with what was used to brew it not to mention it's 10% abv. Surprisingly, though the brew does have a lot of body and a semi-fat mouthfeel it's slightly (but only slightly) less oily feeling than I expected and very sticky none the less. Definitely a sipper here. I don't think I could ever sit down and have a 6 pack session with them because the flavor is way over the top but I do plan to pick up another six of these before they're gone and pop the cap on one when the mood for something quite interesting and way different hits me.

Jun 14, 2010

Short's Black Licorice Lager

It's always interesting to see what up north Michigan brewery Short's has up it's sleeve. If being a black lager alone wasn't interesting enough on it's own (after all, it's not all that common of a style in the first place) the ingredients that have gone into it, which include Anise seed, Vanilla beans from Madagascar and chocolate mint leaves, are enough to make one think "Damn! What kinda crazy beer scientists are the up there" even more.
The color is an obvious black and when held to the light some dark red highlights can be seen. The pinky finger sized head had a coffee with double cream color to it that melted away fairly quickly but spotty lace continues all the way through the glass.
The smell is quite interesting. At first sniff it seemed all about the chocolate. Letting it breath for a little bit more time though different levels of aroma complexities came out. The chocolate still takes the lead but mellows out a bit giving room for the vanilla and mint properties to come out. Though the brew is over 8% abv the alcohol, in the scent at least, is hardly detectable.
Those multi levels of complexities really come out in the flavor. Dark Swiss chocolate flavors starts off in the sip. It then takes a quick turn to black licorice/anise with a hint of mint & herbs in the middle. It's got quite a bite up to this point but then takes another sharp turn where the vanilla softens up the finish. Just when you think that's it you get a warm feeling from the alcohol content that comes sneaking up.
The brew itself is not all that thick as one would expect. The mouth feel here is in the medium range with just the right amount of carbonation something like this should have which would make it fairly easy to slam back if someone is into that kinda thing but it's best to savor it in small sips to take in all the things the flavors have going on.

Jun 6, 2010

Short's 6th Anniversary Blood Orange Wheat Wine

Wheat wine is still pretty much in it's infancy as far as fancy ale's are concerned but out of nowhere already many different tweaks on it have already began. Two of the one's we really liked here at Smashin' Transistors headquarters have been Founder Nemesis and New Holland's Pilgrims Dole. Both of them were excellent and quite original with what they're doing but the style, like it's older sister Barley Wine, a little of them can go a long way (and can lay down some hurt in the morning too). That doesn't mean we're gonna shy away from them. Just have to practice a bit of moderation when they come around.
Rumor is only a couple of cases of Short's 6th Anniversary Blood Orange Wheat Wine even made it to St. Clair County. Luckily, having a good rapport with a couple of the beer sellers in town we've been able to give it taste and since they're only allowing one bottle per customer per visit we can be moderated on how many we can drink at a time.
The color here obviously resembles blood oranges. A clear dark red color that borders on ruby. No head but a orange ring all the way around the top. The nose is quite interesting here. A orange blast comes out on top. Right after pouring it and giving it a moment to breathe the aroma could be noticed rising out of the glass and filling the room. Raising it up to give it a whiff the hops, which have a citrus aroma to them anyway, accentuate the scent even more. There's also a slight detection of the green peppercorns that we used in the brewing process too. If we were to judge this beer just off the scent alone it would be a winner.
First sip and it's made known that the smell was just teaser. The flavor hits the tongue & mouth just like a freshly peeled orange on a sweet summer day. The +11% abv sends quite a warm rush through the body on the first sip too but all and all the high booze content in the brew is hardly detectable. The middle has something similar to a very bold Sweet Tarts candy giving way to some more of the damp hop characteristics. Pepper comes out a bit in the finish but doesn't overwhelm any of the other flavors that this has offer. Orange flavors, some grassy spices and the dry hang of other wheat wines we've tried sticks around slightly in the end but for the most part it's very clean-n-dry and refreshing. Another way of looking at it is the strangest but tasty Sangria side road people can ride on. Even for those who aren't much into fruit/vegetable beers, present company included, will most likely wanting to have more than just one of these a session. In that case, I guess it's a good thing that, in this town at least, there's a one bottle per visit on these because I'm feeling good off just one 12 ounce bottle and could definitely be in the mood to down some more but then would most likely in the A.M. be thinking "Damn, how can something that tastes so good last night make me feel this spun out this morning".

May 31, 2010

Short's The Magician Ale

When first seeing this on the shelves a few months back I thought "I know I need to try this BUT it's a red ale. It can wait". Red and Amber ales just are one of my favorite styles and there's always something other out there that I feel I want to try first. A few days later fellow local beer geek, good friend and eventual contributor this this very site Josh phones me up and says "Dale! I'm trying the Magician!"
"Yeah, I've seen it around now but you know how I am about reds."
"Me too but keep in mind it's a Short's so it's not a standard Irish red. It says right on the bottle its a Dark Red London ale, whatever that is, and it's pretty good. Come on over and try one tonight. It's really good."
Not to be one to turn down a free (good) beer I headed over that evening to give it a try. And you know what? He was right. It was pretty good but didn't take proper notes that evening so tonight I am sitting here with a glass of it in front of me to make amends for it.
Dark, almost brown when sitting in the glass but when held up to the light a rich ruby color shines through. The head was about a half inch of so which does melt a bit but doesn't quite go away through it's sipping so it leaves quite a bit of lacing all the way through the glass.
The aroma of Michigan garden herbs, some warm roasted malt and some woodsy characteristics are what comes out in the nose but the general overall scent is fairly subdued and mellow.
The flavor, which is what really matters anyway, do have a lot more pronounced things going on. Caramel and crystal malt are the first thing on the taste buds. They warm everything right up. The middle has brings out raisins and dark cherries and the back end has noticeable smokiness and white pepper to it. One of the things most interesting about this beer with all the levels of flavors it has is that it finishes quite clean making it quite sessionable. I can't say that it has me wanted to go and seek out other UK styled red's (okay...okay Dark Red London Ales if we want to split hairs) because I'm still not a huge fan of the style but there have been several times now since I've first tried it where I've found myself picking it up again.

Jan 9, 2010

Short's The Liberator

This is another of the limited run beers that Bellaire/Elk Rapids, Michigan brewery Short's released to the market last month. It's a double IPA which us here at S/T central are always up for and that it was from Short's we more than ready to pop the cap.
A very nice, rich & cloudy burnt copper color gets us even more intrigued at first glance. A very strong orangish head hangs on for quite a while. It's thick but soft. When it fade the lacing reminds one of watching snowdrift blow across the road. Man, oh Man! It's almost declared a winner on looks alone.
Talk about a beer who's scent bursts with juicy aromas as soon as the bottle was open you could already smell it in the air. Peach, green apple, tangerine, white pepper and bubble gum all seem to float through the air when giving this a whiff. All of them distinctive and very flavorful smelling and though all very pronounced not one of them stepping over the others. All one can say is "Wow!"
The scent is just a primer for the gigantic sour fruit punch the brew packs. This very full and fluffy feeling brew stokes up the tongue instantly with a straight up tang. Full of earthy zest and oily, grassy pucker power. Once again "Wow!" We're talking hop juice here. A peppery bite comes through in the middle and stands out more in the finish.
I've heard a few people have said that this is pretty much Short's turning up their Huma Lupa Licious twice as loud. It's very understandable why. There's a whole lotta flavor punch in one of them and the same kind of flavors in it hit here doubly.