Moher Stout

Maker: Shorts, Bellaire, Michigan, USAwpid-2015-03-16-10.30.26.jpg.jpeg

Style: Double Irish-style stout.

ABV: 9.7%

Purchased for $13/6 pack

Appearance: Dark coffee brown with a beige lacy head.

Nose: Slightly toasty, sweet malt.

Palate: Sweet and a little sticky. Oatmeal, molasses, effervescence.

Finish: Some bitterness and a bit of smoke. Dry.

Parting words: Moher Stout is named for a scenic group of cliffs in Ireland that were, according to the bottle, the scene of at least one shipwreck.

Anyway, this differs from their Uncle Steve’s Stout in two ways. First, it’s at “double” strength and second oatmeal is used in the making of it. These two factors lift it above Uncle Steve’s and into highly recommended territory. Unfortunately the high price takes it down a peg from there. Moher Stout is, like I said, recommended.

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Cup A Joe

Maker: Short’s, Elk Rapids, Michigan, USAwpid-2015-01-05-20.53.18.jpg.jpeg

Style: Coffee Cream Stout (made with FTO coffee from Higher Grounds roasters, Traverse City, Michigan).

ABV: 7%

Purchased for $12/6 pack

Appearance: Dark coffee with a short-lived lacy head.

Nose: Fresh ground coffee, sour yeast, cocoa.

Palate: Coffee with extra cream, and a little bit of funk.

Finish: Bitter and caffeinated like your ex but with a sweetness he or she lacks.

Parting words: This is one of my favorite styles from one of my favorite Michigan breweries, so buying it was an easy decision to make. I was not disappointed. The coffee, stout and cream elements blend together seamlessly and the result is a great after-dinner (or as-dinner) stout. Doesn’t do too bad with food either, at least with (electric) grilled pork chops. It’s pricy but worth it. Cup A Joe is recommended.

Soft Parade

Maker: Short’s, Bellaire, Michigan, USAwpid-2014-08-18-20.21.51.jpg.jpeg

Style: Strong rye ale with pureed strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.

ABV: 7.5%

Purchased for: $11

Appearance: Golden brown with a hint of pink. Lacy head.

Nose: Roasted malt, fruit juice.

Palate: Medium bodied and nicely balanced. Hot cereal, Hawaiian Punch, wild blackberries.

Finish: Dark rye toast, with a tiny bit of mixed berry jam.

Parting words: Summer is the time for fruit beers and this one is very popular in these parts, and not just because of the great label art. It’s everything a fruity summer beer should be. It’s fruity and refreshing while still having the character of the “base” beer, in this case a strong rye ale. The ABV is sneaky and could take one unawares, but there’s nothing not to love about this beer except maybe the price. Soft Parade is recommended.

Uncle Steve’s Irish Stout

Maker: Short’s, Bellaire/Elk Rapids, Michigan, USUncle Steve's Irish Stout

ABV: 5.5%

Purchased for $9

Appearance: Black with a foamy chocolate head

Nose: Dark toast, molasses, malt.

On the palate: Medium bodied, dry and effervescent. Dark roasted malt and a little sourness. A little sweetness at the end.

Finish: More dark toast and bubbles. Fades fairly quickly.

Parting words: It doesn’t take a lot of guesswork to figure out what brand of beer a craft “Irish Stout” is aimed at. If you like Guinness, you’ll like this. It’s a bit of an improvement on Guinness, but not enough to make it a repeat buy for me since I’m not a fan of that style of stout in the first place. I prefer my stouts more flavorful and chocolaty. Uncle Steve’s Irish Stout is mildly recommended.

Pontius Road Pilsner

Maker: Short’s, Elk Rapids, Michigan, USA

ABV: 4.5%

Appearance: Pale gold with a foamy head.

Nose: Standard pilsner. Creamy malt, sweetness, coriander, hops.

On the palate: Light bodied, aggressive hops and bitterness.

Finish: Bitter. slightly sweet, then big hop notes.

Parting words:  Pontius Road Pilsner is drinkable, but out of balance. The best pilsners are crisp and clean but also with enough bitterness and spice to make it interesting. This one is fairly crisp, but too heavily hopped for my taste. Not bad, but could be better. Mildly recommended.

Nicie Spicie

Maker: Short’s, Elk Rapids, Michigan, USA

Style: Spiced wheat ale

ABV: 4.5%

Appearance: Dark straw, cloudy and foamy.

Nose: Moroccan spicy. Coriander, Meyer lemon, hint of white pepper.

On the palate: Light bodied with lots of spice tempered with a little wheat character. Coriander, faint hints of citrus. Maybe even a little creamy.

Finish: Sweet and slightly fruity. Fades fairly quickly.

Parting words: This is a summer limited release from shorts in the vein of spiced wheat ales like Whitsun. The spice dries out (in a good way) the normally fruity wheat beer profile. It’s a fun drink, especially in late summer when thoughts of pumpkin ale are in the air. Another good solid offering from Short’s. If I have a criticism it’s that the coriander is a little too strong. I would have appreciated more citrus and pepper. At any rate, Nicie Spicie is recommended.

ControversiALE

Maker: Shorts, Bellaire, Michigan, USA

Style: IPA

ABV: 6.55%

Appearance: Slightly hazy copper.

Nose: Effervescent, fruity, floral.

On the palate: full-bodied, very bitter and hoppy. Lemon pepper, hay, urn with dead flowers in a drained pool.

Finish:  Floral and bitter moving to just straight up bitterness

Parting words: It says a lot about the hop-mania the nation is in the grip of that this hop-monster is considered by some to be between an IPA and a Pale Ale. I taste very little in this beer other than hops, and I’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of IPAs. But this  grew on me after a while, I must admit. It reminds me a lot of Two-hearted ale, but with a more aggressive edge. ControversALE gets a recommendation, if only because I know others will love this one.

Noble Chaos Oktoberfest

Maker: Short’s, Bellaire, Michigan, USA

Style: Amber Ale (Marzen)

ABV: 5.75%

Appearance: Auburn with a clingy, foamy head.

Nose: Sweet, malty, slightly fruity

On the palate: medium-bodied, with a lot of sweetness and spicy hops on initial entry. Lots of malt, hoops, sweetness, whole wheat toast and a whiff of smoke. Not particularly complex but well-balanced and goes well with my lunch of saltines and summer sausage.

Finish: Long, hoppy and bitter, but not unpleasantly so.

Parting Words: This is a very well-executed edition of the classic malty Bavarian Oktoberfest-type beer. It’s more aggressive than most beers of the same style, but that’s not a bad thing. Recommended.