Short's Brewing Company

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Short's Brewing Company
Industry Alcoholic beverage
Founded 2004
Founders Joe Short
Headquarters Bellaire, Michigan, Elk Rapids, Michigan, United States
Area served Michigan
Products Beer
Production output 18,010 Barrels (2011)

Short's Brewing Company is a brewpub and microbrewery housed in a refurbished, 100 year-old hardware store located in Bellaire, Michigan, United States. In 2008, a production facility in Elk Rapids, Michigan was purchased and renovated to accommodate larger scale batches separate from the brewing done on-site at the brewpub.[1] The Short's Brewing Company mission statement expresses pride in unlimited creativity, staying unique, and creating experiences.

Short’s Brewing Company set a world record for the largest tap takeover when it served 100 Short's draughts for the August 22, 2013 grand opening of HopCat's new location in East Lansing, Michigan.[2]



Short's Brewing Company was registered as a business in 2002 with the State of Michigan by 22-year old Joe Short [3] Joe had already gained significant brewing experience at other Michigan breweries, and realized that his style of brewing was best suited to his own business model, where he could brew specialty beers that some might consider outrageous.

In 2003 an empty hardware store in Bellaire, Michigan, was refurbished for use as a brewpub. The pub opened its doors on April 26, 2004 and initially housed a seven barrel brewing system utilizing five fermentors and five serving tanks. First year production totaled 178 barrels.[4] With the 2008 Elk Rapids warehouse facilities, Short's production capacity increased to thirty thousand barrels. During the fall of 2006, Short began work on Short’s Brewing Company’s most ambitious project up until that point: The Imperial Beer Series. By 2007 the 13 series beers were released, each one with its own trading card and story.[5] The 13 beers were well received by craft beer enthusiasts around the country, and have since been revived in small pub batches and in 12 oz. bottles.


Short’s purchased an old manufacturing building in Elk Rapids, Michigan in January 2008. After a year of research and construction, the first Elk Rapids batch of beer was brewed in January 2009. With the Elk Rapids warehouse facilities, Short's production capacity increased to thirty thousand barrels per year.[6] The bottling line is designed to process 800 cases per day.[7] Today, Short’s brewing company brews up to 2,000 barrels a year at their brewpub and around 22,000 barrels at the production site.


The pub offers space for community gatherings, local art (even the bar was made by locals[8]), and live performance. The pub organizes beer festival parties and a "Short's To Short's Paddle," a 27 mile sea kayak trip from the pub in Bellaire to the Elk Rapids production brewery.[9] The pub always has 20 beers on tap.[10]

Production Site[edit]

The Elk Rapids production site is a 30-barrel brewhouse. The site has 21 fermentors and 6 bright tanks. Every Short’s beer is brewed with natural ingredients and is unfiltered. Every bottled product and some kegs are flash pasteurized. The production site is geared to brew and package 56 different beers in 2014.


The brewpub features twenty taps which include both annual and seasonal varieties of beer year round.

Seasonal varieties are available until supplies are exhausted for the year, however in the case of the summer beer Beach Wheat, popularity of the brew has led to a second yearly brewing under the name Snow Wheat if space is open in the brewery. The seasonal brews are often prominent features of beer tasting dinners and events put on by restaurants across the state with Short's regularly on tap.

Short’s Brewing Company is distributed only in the upper and lower Michigan peninsulas.[11] Short’s believes this is the best way to give back to the state that made it all possible for them to flourish as a company. Short’s beer is found in over 3,200 locations statewide including restaurants, bars and big box grocery stores, along with liquor/party stores.


Flagship Beers[edit]

  • Huma Lupa Licious - American India Pale Ale - 6.8% ABV/96 IBU
    • The numerous hop varieties used in its creation render a delicious bitter taste and enticing citrus aroma. The hearty malt bill melds with the hops to create a perfect balance.
  • Soft Parade - Fruit-infused Rye Beer - 8.0% ABV/15 IBU
    • This gourmet specialty is engineered of toasted rye flakes and two-row malted barley and loaded with pureed strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. The result is a refreshing fruit delicacy that’s easy to drink, appealing to look at and finishes dry.
  • Local's Light - American Pilsner - 4% ABV/6 IBU
    • A light, yet very tasty lager. The light pilsen malt lends a soft and subtle flavor that finishes crisp and clean. It is the perfect beer for either the seasoned craft brew enthusiast or someone new to microbrews.
  • Bellaire Brown - American Brown Ale - 6.5% ABV/14 IBU
    • A full-flavored brown ale that derives sweet caramel and toasted qualities from four different kinds of malt and specialty grains. Select hop varieties add enticing aroma to the nose and create a dry finish.

Seasonal Beers[edit]

  • Spring: ControversiALE - American IPA - 6.0% ABV/67 IBU
    • FKA Hangin’ Frank, ControversiALE is a tribute to Simcoe hops. The earthy, citrus and pine-laced nose is instantly delectable. Large amounts of toasted grains and high alpha hops form a perfect union that creates the cool sensation of toasted sourdough covered with zesty grapefruit hop marmalade.
  • Summer: Nicie Spicie - American Pale Wheat Ale - 4.5% ABV/14 IBU
    • A Northern Michigan spiced wheat ale made with a 50/50 blend of malted barley and malted white wheat. Packed with fresh citrus zest, then spiced with coriander and a three peppercorn blend, this light-bodied ale is complex yet crisp and refreshing.
  • Fall: Beard of Zeus - Indian Pale Lager - 4.5% ABV/70 IBU
    • Beard of Zeus is a super hoppy India style pale lager. It contains a small amount of bitter orange peel to provide some subtle sweet flavors and enhance the aromas of the Zeus hops.
  • Winter: Good Humans - Imperial Brown Ale - 8.0% ABV/19 IBU
    • Double Brown Ale made with Carabrown Malt, and then dry hopped with Simcoe hops. Sweet malty esters are met by huge toasted caramel and toffee flavors. The finish is a bouquet of hops with slight fruity qualities and a pleasingly dry finish.

Seasonal Pale Ales[edit]

  • Winter: Chatterbox - 6% ABV/60 IBU
    • Inviting hop aromas of sweet orange and tangerine emit from this light copper colored American Pale Ale. A balanced presentation of light toasted malt and fruity hop flavors lead into a sufficiently bold bitterness. Slight hoppy characteristics resonate in the finish, creating a very subtle dryness.
  • Spring: Pandemonium Pale Ale - 6.4% ABV/36 IBU
    • The coppered-colored American pale ale lends its hue to hearty two-row malts and hand selected specialty grains. Glacier hops balance the malt character, resulting in bountiful hoppy flavors and earthy aromas.
  • Summer: Yosemite Scooter - 5.5% ABV/44 IBU
    • A lighter bodied American Pale Ale with a dirty blonde color and delightful aromas of bright zesty orange, mango, and rich sticky hops. Excellent hop flavors of citrus fruit and berries blast across the palate, along with a mild earthiness. Succeeded by a moderate bitterness that lends some lingering fruity rind-like qualities and traces of pine.
  • Fall: Bonafide Legit - 6% ABV
    • A light bodied, honey colored American IPA, with a slight haze, brewed entirely with Michigan grown and malted barley, and Northern Michigan grown Summit hops. The excellent sharp aroma of strong floral and fruity characteristics stings the senses with hop laced anticipation. A sticky hop-filled mouthful of damp earthy pine with notable herbal accents coats the entire mouth, followed by a big resiny bitterness that lingers well into the finish, drying the palate and resonating boldly.


2009 Great American Beer Festival[12]

  • Bloody Beer - Silver Medal - Experimental Beer

2010 RateBeer Best Beers In The World [13]

  • #64 - 100 Best Brewers in The World
  • #5 - 50 Best Brewpubs

2010 Great American Beer Festival[14]

  • Key Lime Pie- Gold Medal- Experimental Beer

2010 World Beer Cup [15]

  • Black Licorice Lager- Bronze Medal- Herb & Spice Beer or Chocolate Beer

2011 Draft Magazine Top 25 Beers of the Year [16]

  • The Gambler


External links[edit]