I hope that all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and got your fill of food and drink. We had a wonderful time in northern Michigan watching a storm come in across Little Traverse Bay, and of course I had a nice selection of stouts to keep me company, but that story will come later.
Our family tradition is to pick out a Christmas tree the day or two after Thanksgiving, and since we returned today, we just picked out our tree and brought it home. So now I have the aroma of pine needles in my nose, which usually would cause me to think of a nice, piney IPA. However, my friends at Beard’s Brewery (more later about my visit with Ben and Peter at their brewery as well) in Petoskey, Mich., gave me an early bottle of Short’s Brewing Cup A Joe (coffee stout, 7 percent ABV).
This is an annual release from Shorts and is a wonderful beer to drink fresh. Here is Short’s description:
“A brew uniquely different from most coffee stouts, we cram Higher Grounds roasted fair trade espresso beans into every facet of the brewing process. Prominent aromatics of malt, espresso, and cocoa are abundant and create a flavor robust with big malt characters fused with cream and coffee. The perfect morning night capper.”
It poured a nice thick black color into my tulip, with a creamy caramel color head. The aroma is full of roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate. There are also a couple of other interesting notes in the aroma — a nice earthiness that may come from their choice of hops and a very slight pleasantness of pipe tobacco. I almost feel like I should go get my bathrobe and retire for the evening in front of the tree.
The flavor is, of course, full of coffee — dark, rich, creamy espresso — so this is definitely a coffee lover’s stout. There is a nice sweetness from the milk sugar, which also provides the wonderful creaminess.
The brewery told me that bottles have been released for distribution, but the two bottle shops that I contacted in Kalamazoo said that did not have bottles yet. Since Shorts is only distributed in Michigan, only those in northern Michiana will be able to get this — unless you take a short drive over the border, which I would strongly recommend.
As soon as I hear anymore about this hitting shelves in Michigan, I will pass the info along. This is one of my favorite Shorts beers, and it is best consumed fresh.
Eric Strader of Goshen writes the Beer Nuts blog at blogs.etruth.com/beernuts.