Italian Cooking & Language Blog

Fare La Scarpetta means to wipe your plate clean with a piece of bread.

What else could you ask for?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Shorts Brewing Company in Bellaire, MI

Contrary to attempts to be cool, I don’t actually like beer. Fancy beers that friends choose for me often taste sour and are too filling. Other beers taste like dirty, bubbly water.

This was true until my husband and I went to shorts Brewing Company in Bellaire, MI. This tiny little brewery in an incredibly small skiing and golfing town caters to both locals and tourists with a wide variety of beers made in small batches.

We sat in the side room that had a performance space and started with a special bottle of the Ginger in the Rye. My husband enjoyed it, but I didn’t like the bitter taste. Considering the very long list of options, I asked the bartender what she would recommend. She listened patiently to what I didn’t like about that beer and what I did like about the Brown beer I’d tried at the ski lodge where we were staying.

She suggested a flight and described the beers that she thought I’d like. Displayed on a short ski, here’s what we came up with:

Chocolate Wheat (Chocolate malt, wheat malt and well chosen specialty grains provide deep black wort balanced with Nuget and Fuggle hops. A full flavored, full bodied, toasted chocolate ale.)

The Magician (A dark red London ale with rich malt complexities lending notes of toasted caramel, raisins, toffee, and slight roasted chocolate. Very light hop additions let the true malt characters promenade throughout the duration of this pleasurable experience.)

Stellar Ale (Brewed exclusively for Trattoria Stella of Traverse City this beer is defined as a pale ale, but hefty doses of Amarillo hops make it more comparable to an IPA. Toasted caramel malts provide the sweet flavor that supports the intense citrus bitterness of the hop.)

Mystery Stout (Cocoa and molasses give this robust stout a sweet pallet that finishes slightly bitter. This beer is a real mystery waiting to be discovered.)

The Soft Parade (A blend of toasted rye flakes and malted barley fermented with 200 pounds of pureed strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries resulting in a sweet fruity delicacy. Intoxicatingly refreshing brewed special for those who enjoy their wine.)

She was right; I really enjoyed them. The Soft Parade, which sounded strange, was light and delicious. The complexity of the stout beers were my favorite. The Stellar Ale wasn’t my favorite, but I didn’t mind it.

We first found the brewery listed in the edible Grande Traverse magazine. The edible franchise can usually be trusted for good restaurants. I had a deliciously fresh vegetarian sandwich with avocado and portabella mushrooms and my husband had a ham sandwich. Considering the high prices and mediocre food at the resort, this was a reasonably priced and delicious treat.

If you find yourself in Northern Michigan, I highly suggest that you look for this beer. If you live nearby, I bet you’ve either joined the mug club, or gotten on the waiting list which, according to the website, takes 6 months to a year. We brought home two six packs, if you’re interested in trying it in Southeastern Michigan before we drink it all. In fact, I bet you can find it nearby.

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