Michigan is well known for amazing breweries. I don't know what it is about Michigan breweries that makes their beers so divine, maybe it's in the water. Who knows. Regardless, I have come across several breweries in the giant mitten that produce sensational beers. Founders, Bells, Dark Horse, Greenbush, Saugatuck, and for this blog I will focus on another quality Michigan brewery: Shorts Brewing.
My first introduction to Shorts was following a visit to Bells this past spring. I ventured into a bottle shop and the beer guy recommended a couple brews from Shorts. Huma-Lupa-Licious IPA, which is a pretty solid IPA, and Pandemonium Pale Ale which I found to be rather mediocre. I met up two weeks ago with a buddy that I've met through Beer Advocate to exchange a couple bottles, and upon the exchange he surprised me with this brew from Shorts. It's called Strawberry Shorts Cake. When I first heard of this beer, I knew it probably wouldn't be my thing, but figured it might be one that my wife may enjoy. I'm not big on fruit beers, but there have been a few I have liked and I figured Shorts would deliver. Let's dig in:
Choose Your Vessel: For this one I went with two larger tasting glasses. One standard half pint glass and one Greenbush taster. Sharing the bottle with my wife. My taster, seen below was the Greenbush vessel.
The Pour: Amber-ish in color. Slight off-white head. Just a small tint of light pink. Head disappeared almost immediately and there was minimal lacing throughout consumption.
Aroma: Lives up to the name. Smells exactly like strawberry shortcake. Reminds me of enjoying strawberry shortcake at home when I was a child.
Taste: Hits you right away with strawberry and milk sugar. Extremely sweet and tart. The strawberry and candied sugar flavors really overwhelm the palate with this one initially. As I continue to drink my small sample, the strawberry and sugar flavors start reminding me of something unpleasant. After many more sips I figured out that what I was tasting was more like a strawberry flavored medicine.
Overall: This one, surprisingly, missed the mark for me. My wife also found the flavor to be somewhat off-putting, although she seemed to enjoy it more than I did. The strong medicinal quality of the beer made this rather unpleasant. Initially it was tolerable, but as I progressed through it the beer became almost undrinkable. I can imagine that people who really enjoy sweet and tart beers probably would love this one, but for me it's definitely one I likely won't try again. Despite the negative experience, I welcome trying more beers from Shorts. They are, after all, in Michigan, and I fully believe that they have many other quality beers. One thing I admire about this beer and this brewery is that they don't seem afraid to take risks when brewing unique beers like this one.
Anyone have a different experience with this beer? What are other fruit beers I should try?