SHORT’S BREWING COMPANY
“THE SHORT’S STORY BEGAN IN 2002 when a 22-year-old brewer named Joe Short registered Short’s Brewing Company as a business in the state of Michigan. Having already gained significant brewing experience at other Michigan breweries, Joe realized that his style of brewing was best suited to his own business model where he would not have to answer to anyone for putting lots (and lots) of the best possible ingredients into his brews, or for brewing specialty beers that some might consider outrageous. Joe wanted to brew bold, flavorful and extremely creative beer, and felt that people would travel out of the way to get them. Renovation of the 120-year-old hardware store began in January 2003 when Joe and several friends and volunteers began renovating and restoring the building to what it is today. All the craftsmanship was done by Joe, friends and volunteers, from the trim mold to the bar, right down to the mosaic tile Short’s logo near the pub entrance. The logo mosaic took four people three straight days to complete. The brewing equipment was purchased used. The original seven barrel pub brewing system came with five fermenters and five serving tanks. Many roadblocks and challenges threatened to cancel the project. However, with hard work, determination and many good people lending a hand, the project was finally completed after 18 months. The pub opened its doors on April 26, 2004.”
- Chatterbox (84 Points)
- Good Humans (90 Points)
- Huma Lupa Licious (93 Points)
- Local’s (71 Points)
- Noble Chaos (83 Points)
- Pandemonium Pale Ale (76 Points)
- Soft Parade (88 Points)
- Woodmaster (95 Points)
- Black Chai (85 Points)
- Bludgeon Yer Eye (94 Points)
- Dr. Zeus (92 Points)
- Happy Jack (90 Points)
- Imperial Spruce Pilsner(91 Points)
- Stellar Ale (91 Points)
CHATTERBOX: 84 Points
This American Pale Ale is released seasonally in the Winter months in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Chatterbox is an American Pale Ale that has inviting hop aromas of sweet orange and tangerine. A balanced presentation of light toasted malt and fruity hop flavors lead into a bold bitterness. Chatterbox’s hoppy characteristics resonate in the finish, creating a very subtle dryness.”
My Description: I don’t understand the name of this beer but I do enjoy it. It begins with a good sized, off-white colored head with a great retention level that leaves behind some spotty lacing. The aroma is pretty straightforward with notes of bready malts and earthy hops. Chatterbox is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. This beer is balanced nicely with a toasted malt backbone and a moderately bitter finish. This flavor profile is clean but not too flavorful. Herbal hops and tangerine hops are noticed but don’t necessarily pop in your face. Still though, this beer is easy drinking and makes for a solid Pale Ale. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with a vegetable Panini, pizza, or a chopped salad.
ABV: 6% Color: Hazy Deep Gold Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 5/10
GOOD HUMANS: 90 Points
This American Strong ale is released seasonally in the Winter months in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Good Humans was created to showcase one of Briess Malting Company’s new malt varieties. Originally planned as a one-time thing, it quickly became one of our big successes. Good Humans is a Double Brown Ale made with Carabrown Malt, and then dry hopped with Simcoe hops. The brew has sweet malty esters that are met by huge toasted caramel and toffee flavors. The finish is dry with a bouquet of hops.”
My Description: This beer smells great and overall it is a pleasant choice for the season. It pours a good sized, light beige colored head that fades to a ring that leaves behind some spotty lacing. The aroma is welcoming and complex with notes of biscuits, grapefruit hops, caramel malt, brown sugar, some floral hints, and an apparent nuttiness. Good Humans is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. This ale isn’t as bitter as I thought it would be from the description, it is more on the mild side. Upfront, there are notes of caramel malt, brown malt, dark breads, and raisins along with some clean pine hop notes. The flavors work nicely together and the alcohol is barely tasted. The aftertaste is slightly bitter but doesn’t linger for long. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with grilled chicken, smoked sausage, or cheesecake.
ABV: 8% Color: Brown/Ruby highlights Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 2.5/10
HUMA LUPA LICIOUS: 93 Points
This American IPA is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Huma Lupa Licious’ name derives from the hop plant, Humulus lupulus. It is Short’s best-selling India Pale Ale. Huma Lupa Licious is brewed with five different hop varieties, providing a punch to the palate. Between the beer’s abundance of hops, and the type of hops used in its creation, it has a delicious bitter taste and enticing citrus aroma. The hearty malt bill melds well with the hops for a perfect balance. Huma Lupa Licious is the product of Joe Short wanting to create the ultimate IPA experience. Originally, Huma Lupa Licious was named Humulus Lupulus Maximus, and went through several recipe changes before settling on the recipe we know and love today.”
My Description: This is a great IPA for Short’s to have as one of their flagship beers. It begins with a large, off-white colored head with a great retention level that holds the whole way leaving behind some spotty lacing. The aroma definitely has that American hop profile with citrus hops dominating along with some grassy notes and bready malt notes. Huma Lupa is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. This IPA showcases a great amount of hop flavors ranging from tangerine and citrus to some pine notes and hop spice undertones. This beer tastes great; pale malt notes and a hint of earthy notes add depth and help keep the alcohol flavor in check. The aftertaste is moderately high in bitterness and lingers for a while. This beer isn’t a hop monster, but it’s strong, and it doesn’t cheapen out on the hop flavor. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with jerk chicken, mushroom burgers, or coconut shrimp.
ABV: 7.7% Color: Golden/Orange Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 6.5/10
LOCAL’S: 71 Points
This Light American Lager is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Local’s is a light, yet very tasty lager. The light pilsen malt creates a soft and subtle flavor profile that finishes crisp and clean on your palate. Local’s is a perfect beer for the seasoned craft brew enthusiast and someone new to microbrews. When Short’s first opened, there was not a great deal of craft beer available in the area. Joe Short wanted to create a beer that would appeal to new craft beer drinkers who lived in Michigan, and introduce them to the complex flavors of other beer styles.”
My Description: This is like the microbrewery version of the American light beer, enough said. It pours a weak, white colored head that lasts for a few seconds before disappearing. The aroma is simple with not much going on, some pilsner malt notes and breadiness. Local’s is lighter bodied with a slightly lower carbonation level and a dry finish. The texture is crisp and smooth, which is standard for a Pilsner-like lager. The flavor profile follows the nose closely with some pale malt notes accompanied by a hint of grass and a touch of floral hops. The aftertaste has hardly any bitterness to help give this beer some much lacking depth. If you like the taste of a light lager but don’t want to support the giant beer companies, then this is the choice for you. For me however, one of these is enough to last me a lifetime. It is best served around 35°F and pairs nicely with mozzarella sticks, burgers, or grilled shrimp.
ABV: 4% Color: Straw Yellow Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 1.5/10
NOBLE CHAOS: 83 Points
This Oktoberfest/Märzen is released seasonally in late Summer in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Noble Chaos is an Oktoberfest/Marzen (German-style amber lager) with a subtle hop bouquet and toasted caramel malt flavors. It is a well-balanced beer that finishes fresh and clean. With a pleasant nose and medium body, this brew is a taste of the fall season.”
My Description: This is a nicely balanced beer that is easy drinking with good flavor notes. It begins with a large, off-white colored head with a great retention level that leaves behind an excellent retention level. The aroma is pleasant with notes of caramel malt, herbal hops, and a touch of nuttiness. Noble Chaos is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is enjoyable with notes of caramel malt, herbal hops, and some toasted notes from the Munich Malt. There is an undertone of earthiness that is present throughout that adds character. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with lingering malt notes. The beer is satisfying but it feels a little thin and it could be cleaner. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled sausage, baked chicken, or a reuben sandwich.
ABV: 5.75% Color: Orange/Amber Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 3/10
PANDEMONIUM PALE ALE: 76 Points
This American Pale Ale is generally released in the Summer months in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Pandemonium Pale Ale is a coppered-colored American Pale Ale that lends its hue to hearty two-row malts and hand selected specialty grains. Glacier hops balance the malt character, resulting in bountiful hoppy flavors and earthy aromas. Behold the bitter hysteria!”
My Description: “Bitter Hysteria?” This is nowhere near what I would call bitter hysteria; I’ve drank standard English Pale Ales more bitter than this. It pours a decent, off-white colored head that fades to a thin film and leaves behind a minimal amount of lacing. The aroma is pleasant enough with a noticeable malt sweetness accompanied by a subdued fruit note that appears to come from the hop selection. Pandemonium is light/medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. The flavor profile is where this beer completely turns me away. I was excited for big hop flavors with at least a moderate bitter aftertaste. Instead I got a beer with stale flavors, very little hop notes, and a weak bitterness level. Some grain notes can be detected along with a hint of pine hops but overall this beer is bland and not memorable. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled chicken, sautéed shrimp, or a fruit salad.
ABV: 5.4% Color: Orange/Copper Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 3/10
SOFT PARADE: 88 Points
This Fruit Beer is released in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Imperial Soft Parade is a gourmet specialty pour that is brewed with toasted rye flakes and two-row malted barley. Loaded with pureed strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, we refer to this fermented potion as a fruit infused rye ale. The result is a refreshing fruit delicacy that’s easy to drink, appealing to look at, and finishes dry.”
My Description: It begins with a weak, light beige colored head that fades quick but does leave some lacing behind. The aroma is interesting and fruit forward with notes of raspberry puree and some tartness. If you search hard enough there are also some deep rye notes, which add depth and character. Soft Parade is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is slightly complex with tasty fruit notes but I feel that the individual berry notes don’t stand out much but are muddled together. However, I could detect strawberry which tasted great. Short’s does a good job keeping this a beer instead of entering that malt beverage zone. This beer does lack some of the rye flavors I thought I would taste because of the aroma but that’s okay. The aftertaste is slightly bitter and helps to keep the sweetness in check. All in all, this is a nice fruit beer that hides the alcohol nicely and makes for a great Summer Ale.
ABV: 8.5% Color: Dirty Amber Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 2/10
WOODMASTER: 95 Points
This Imperial Brown Ale is released seasonally in the Winter months in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Woodmaster is a high gravity, American Brown Ale fermented with Northern Michigan maple syrup and toasted pecans. This dark brown, full bodied ale is rich with sweet malt and syrup flavors. These flavors are complemented by the presence of hop aromas and a faint nuttiness. The very first batch of Woodmaster was brewed in Bellaire on March 20, 2007. It was the 289th batch of beer brewed at Shorts, and is one of the original beers from the Short’s Imperial Beer Series (#7 of 13 to be exact).”
My Description: This beer is excellently crafted with a very smooth body, a minimal alcohol presence, and a delicious flavor profile. It pours a good sized, light beige colored head that fades to a film leaving behind some spotty lacing. The aroma is inviting and sweet with deep notes of caramel malt, dark fruits like cherries, and some nuttiness. Woodmaster is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is soft but flavorful and complex with notes of maple syrup, brown sugar, over ripe bananas, caramel malt and a subtle but noticeable nuttiness. The aftertaste is just bitter enough to help combat the sweetness before it becomes cloying. This is a great choice for those cold Winter nights because this will warm you up before you even know it. It is best served around 55°Fa and pairs nicely with smoked ribs, caramel cheesecake, or mild cheeses.
ABV: 10.5% Color: Mahogany/Brown Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 3/10
BLACK CHAI: 85 Points
This Herbal Beer is a limited time release in 12 oz. bottles in the Winter Variety Pack.
Brewer’s Description: “Black Chai is a sumptuous black cream ale that immediately entices the senses with aromas of dark specialty malts, cardamon, nutmeg, and ginger. The brew has a delicious creamy mouthfeel. Chocolate and roasted malt characteristics resonate throughout this black ale. The finish is playfully spicy and bitter.”
My Description: Black Chai is a beer that grows on you. At first it just seems like a novelty but the spice notes add depth and contribute to the flavors of the beer pleasantly. It begins with a large, dark beige colored head with an excellent retention level that holds the whole way leaving behind a tremendous amount of lacing. The aroma is pleasant and welcoming with notes of roasted malt, coffee grounds, and spice notes like ginger and cardamom. Black Chai is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is tasty and quite interesting. The black chai notes actually work nicely with this blend of malts because the roasted notes balance out the spice notes cleanly without one taking over the other. Plus, this beer is moderately bitter making for a highly drinkable combination. The chai notes taste great with ginger standing out nicely along with some nutmeg and hints of cardamom. The texture is slightly creamy and overall the flavors are fairly mellow. This is a great beer to check out while it’s available. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with jerk chicken or peppered steaks.
ABV: 5% Color: Black Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 5/10
BLUDGEON YER EYE: 94 Points
This Black IPA/American Black Ale is a specialty release in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Bludgeon Yer Eye is an India Black Ale. Intense fruity and floral aromas, along with a subtle malty fragrance, emits from the beer. The deep black color complements the rich, dark roasted malt flavors. The unexpected twist comes when the high hop bitterness takes over and leaves a bitter finish.”
My Description: This is a nicely done American Black Ale. It begins with a large, beige colored head with a good retention level that holds the whole way leaving behind some spotty lacing. The aroma is welcoming with notes of cocoa powder, roasted malts, and floral hops. Bludgeon is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The texture is smooth and creamy with an alcohol content that is beautifully hidden. The flavor profile is tasty with a satisfying finish. Upfront, there are notes of roasted coffee, floral hops, caramel malt, and a touch of pine hops. This transitions cleanly into an aftertaste that is slightly high in bitterness. This is a great everyday Black IPA. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with blackened chicken, grilled lamb chops, or a chocolate dessert.
ABV: 6.2% Color: Hazy Dark Brown/Black Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 6.5/10
DR. ZEUS: 92 Points
This English IPA is released for a limited time in 12 oz. bottles in the Winter Variety Pack.
Brewer’s Description: “Dr. Zeus is brewed with a combination of English Ale yeast and bold American Zeus hops. This combination creates a unique sharp nose of spicy herbs and tart lemon. Noticeable grassy and straw hop flavors, intermixed with slight peppery notes, outweighs the grain contributions from the smaller malt bill. An intense bitterness takes over, before leading into a dry finish.”
My Description: Short’s created a simple malt bill and just let the Zeus hops deliver all the flavors, which is great because there isn’t a lot of fluff in the way of showcasing this tasty hop. It also helps that this beer is brewed with quality and care because it makes for a great session beer that is clean, smooth, and delicious. The head isn’t that impressive though, it pours a decent size at best but does leave a thin film the whole way leaving behind a minimal amount of lacing. The aroma is pleasant and inviting with notes of herbal hops, hints of spice, grain, and a touch of grapefruit. Dr. Zeus is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. I love the bitterness level in this IPA, it is moderately high but not sharp at all and lingers beautifully. The rest of the flavor profile follows the nose nicely with the Zeus hop delivering herbal and spice notes along with some grass notes as well. Pale malts are detected and overall everything is fairly subtle. This is an excellent everyday IPA but I wouldn’t mind seeing this with a little more strength. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with spicy beef jerky, Thai noodles, or mozzarella sticks.
ABV: 4.8% Color: Deep Gold Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 5.5/10
HAPPY JACK: 90 Points
This Scottish Ale is released for a limited time in 12 oz. bottles in the Winter Variety Pack.
Brewer’s Description: “Happy Jack is a medium bodied, malty Scottish ale with a touch of ginger and smoked malt. Sweet aromas of caramel and toffee serve as the perfect precursor to the similar malt flavors within. Accents of floral ginger and smoked malt impact the palate, and linger slightly in the finish.”
My Description: This Scottish Ale is highly sessionable with a tasty flavor combination that just gets better as the beer warms. It pours a decent sized, beige colored head with a weak retention level and it leaves behind a minimal amount of lacing. The aroma smells great and very welcoming with notes of smoked malt, caramel malt, some roasted notes, and ginger. Happy Jack is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is slightly complex with subtle smoked malt notes and chocolate accompanied with notes of toasted malt and some dark breads. The aftertaste is moderately bitter with lingering ginger notes that delight. This is a really good ale that is a delight for the Winter season. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with smoked ribs, sautéed steak tips, or spicy Thai chicken.
ABV: 5.5% Color: Garnet/Mahogany Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 3.5/10
IMPERIAL SPRUCE PILSNER: 91 Points
This Imperial Pilsner is available in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Imperial Spruce Pilsner is fermented with local, hand-picked blue spruce tips and the quintessential symbol for Joe Short’s love of hops and craft beer. The spruce presence, rooted in historical brewing practices, is enormous and gives the beer a refreshing gin quality. This beer is impressively light bodied, considering the immense spruce flavors and the prodigious additions of hops.”
My Description: I feel like this beer is great for the Autumn season. The Pilsner aspect blends cleanly with the Winter spruce notes, throw in a lot of hops, increase the alcohol, and you got a different feel for a Fall beer that fits nicely between a Summer style and Winter flavors. It begins with a large, white colored head with a great retention level that holds the whole way leaving behind a good amount of lacing. The aroma is pleasant; notes of pale malts intertwine with earthy/herbal hops and a mellow but noticeable spruce note. Spruce Pilsner is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a very dry finish. The flavor profile is crisp and refreshing. Spruce notes are detected easily in front of the soft Pilsner backbone. Vegetative and herbal hop notes are present throughout and the alcohol flavor is nicely hidden. The aftertaste is moderately bitter with lingering spruce notes. The balance of flavors is well done here. The spruce notes dominate but don’t overpower the hop notes and the overall Pilsner feel. It is best served around 40°F and pairs nicely with grilled asparagus, roasted duck, or baked ham.
ABV: 7% Color: Light Gold Sweetness: 1/10 Bitterness: 6/10
STELLAR ALE: 91 Points
This American IPA is released for a limited time in 12 oz. bottles in the Winter Variety Pack.
Brewer’s Description: “Stellar Ale is a strong Pale Ale that is light orange to copper in color. It has a medium body and is well known for its hop profile. Quite pungent to the nose, this beer has esters of toasted caramel and aromas of spicy grapefruit. This beer is a complement to the fine establishment – Trattoria Stella in the Village Commons, Traverse City.”
My Description: I’m not sure if this is supposed to be an APA because it drinks more like a pale ale than an IPA as the description says. Either way, this is a great beer with potent hop notes and a smooth body. It begins with a decent sized, off-white colored head that leaves a thin film behind with some spotty lacing. The aroma is pungent with notes of citrus hops and grass along with some malt presence. Stellar Ale is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavors here shine just like the name “Stellar” suggests. Bold tangerine and grapefruit hop notes come through nicely along with notes of pine hops and a noticeable caramel malt backbone. Also, hints of toasted bread begin to make an appearance as the beer warms. I love the aftertaste as it is moderately high in bitterness with lingering citrus hop notes. This beer tastes great but has the body and consistency of an APA. It’s makes for one hell of a session beer though. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled chicken sandwiches, coconut shrimp, or baked duck.
ABV: 5.3% Color: Gold/Orange Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 6.5/10