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Short’s Brewing Company is a brewpub located in Bellaire, MI that I recently discovered on my vacation to that state last week. Bellaire is in the northern part of the lower peninsula of Michigan, in a really nice part of the state, I imagine. I bought a couple single bottles of Short’s beers, not knowing what to expect.

The Soft Parade is a rye beer with 200 pounds of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries added. There is very little information about the beer or the brewpub on Short’s website, but Beerdvocate listed the beer as having 14 IBU’s and 9%ABV.

The beer pours a beautiful deep red color (think strawberry or raspberry puree) that is pretty hazy and has amber highlights. The head on my sample was minimal and disappeared quickly.

Aroma was pure strawberries and raspberries (but mostly strawberry). It smelled wonderful, and I was expecting a thick, sweet beer, but the flavor was surprisingly tart on my first sip and I was pleasantly surprised! I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this is a sour beer or a tart beer, but it isn’t as sweet as I was expecting based on that aroma of almost pure fruit.

There is no detectable hop aroma or flavor for me in this beer, which is appropriate for a fruit beer. Hops wouldl clash horribly with these fruits! For being 9% ABV, too, I got no alcohol at all in the aroma or flavor, so it is well-hidden, making this beer something to be respected, as you could easily put several away and find yourself unable to stand up afterward!

The mouthfeel is nice and full with a relatively low carbonation. It’s really interesting to see how the brewers essentially used the properties of the fruits themselves almost entirely to make this an enjoyable beer. It is very, VERY (almost too much so) easy to drink, and it has a nice balance between sweet and tart that really hits the nail on the head. I don’t think I’ve ever had such an easy drinking high gravity beer. Now I wish I’d picked up a couple six packs of this stuff!