Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

The Soft Parade

Short’s Brewing Company
Bellaire, MI

Style: Fruit Beer
ABV: 9.0%

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Outstanding within its style.)

I was never a big Doors fan. I was a little too young for the whole late ’60s hippie music scene—unlike everyone else over the age of 45, I was not at Woodstock—and I wasn’t even into much of the whole ’70s music period either. Sure, there was Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and KISS, but the existence of disco and the fact that death metal was at least a decade away pretty much put the damper on my pop music interests during my “formative years.”

On the other hand, Joe Short, founder and head brewer—or as he likes to call himself, “beer farmer”—of Short’s Brewing over in Bellaire, Michigan, apparently, is a big fan of the Doors. Otherwise, why would he name a beer after one of their albums, The Soft Parade? What a “high gravity ale fermented with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries” has to do with the aforementioned album, however, is beyond me. Then again, maybe I’d understand the reference if I was actually a Doors fan.

The Soft Parade marches out of the bottle and into my Tripel Karmeliet tulip glass a pale red, but as it gathers in the glass it glows a deep ruby. A pink, fine-bubbled head sits atop the pour like a crown. The nose is at first bready malt, peppered with Belgian yeast phenols and unidentifiable berry smells.

A sharp mouthfeel is the intro to a surprisingly light, almost effortless body. Although the carbonation is fairly restrained, the fruitiness of the berries and lightness of the body lends it a spritzy character. Fruity sweetness quickly gives way to a little more substantial maltiness—still very clean and light—mixed with some Belgian-style yeasty spiciness. The finish is just as light as the rest of the body, tinged by distinct berry sweetness. A short shot of earthy hop bitterness snaps off the sip.

My main beef with fruit beers is that they can get cloyingly sweet after a couple glasses or even a couple of sips. Not so Soft Parade. This fruitie is fermented out, making it very dry and almost champagne-like, lightly but unmistakably flavored by the medley of berries. Some might find this one-dimensional, but I really enjoyed the subtle complexities of The Soft Parade.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on April 14, 2010.
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