Snowed In With Short’s: Cup A Joe Creme Stout Review

In Beer Reviews by Karl

Didn’t we just do a whole week of Short’s Brewing reviews a few months ago?  You bet we did!  Is that too much?  That’s not for us to judge – all we know is that Karl was holed up in Traverse City, Michigan under about 31 inches of snow and he burrowed his way to the corner store for a pick-your-six survival pack.  These are his Donner Party style dispatches from the Great White North, with less cannibalism and more beer drinking.

Short’s Says:

Deep aromatics of malt, sweet espresso and roasted cocoa.  Flavor is robust with big malt character covered with cream and coffee. It’s everyone’s favorite coffee stout.

Image via, because my camera was frozen over. Or something like that. Yeah, that’s it.

Short’s Cup A Joe
Coffee Creme Stout, 8% ABV

First things first.  The label above says “Cup Of Joe,” right?  So why does the website call it “Cup A Joe?” I’m going to run with the “A” designation because, basically, it’s more fun to type.  I also like the image of someone ordering this beer and being forced to manhandle Joe Short, who runs the Short’s Nation.


I was glad to be able to grab this beer while snowed under.  Ryan has mentioned it more than a few times as one of his favorite coffee stouts, and if you’ve stumbled through the site you know he has a slightly higher-than-healthy appreciation for anything combining coffee and beer (and when you throw bourbon into the mix, look out).

Short’s Cup A Joe came recommended for its reported smoothness mixed with a pretty strong dose of java, which was supposed to have worked out pretty well.  I myself am fairly ambivalent about coffee stouts – they’re pretty much always good, but they’re akin to what classic car guys call “bellybutton cars.”  Rides like an old Nova or a Chevelle – sure, they’re cool, but…everyone’s got one.  Coffee stouts are always gonna be drinkable, but I never find myself getting very excited about them.

I could give you a ton of details about flavor and aroma and mouthfeel and ABV and gravity and so on and so forth – or I could just tell you that it was basically a Starbucks Doubleshot with alcohol in it.   Creamy, sweet, coffee-laden but not overly so, it’s a very well balanced, appealing beer but not overwhelming.  The creme-ness of the stout backs down the bitterness so you could pour this over your cocoa puffs if you saw fit.   Since the label describes the Cup A Joe as “the perfect morning nightcapper” I don’t feel bad about suggesting this as AM beer, and I’m sure it’s all part of a complete breakfast.

To be slightly more detailed, it’s actually a little more like the Mr. Brown Iced Coffees I pick up at the Hispanic grocery store by my northside-Chicago apartment.

Image Via CoffeeDetective.  Does this ring a bell for anyone but me?

So for the half-dozen of you out there who understand that reference, you’ve got just a bit of a better idea of what the Cup A Joe is like, but for the rest of the civilized world, if you like those Doubleshots, you’re in good hands with Short’s.  Slightly watery, but with definite creaminess and sweet coffee flavors, Mr. Browns is good for 89 cents a can, and the Short’s Cup A Joe is good for $3 in a pick-your-six sampler.

I have a special place in my heart for the Rogue Mocha Porter as one of my gateway beers to craft brewing.  The Cup A Joe is like a Mocha Porter times 2, and ranks right up there with my preferred coffee-based beers.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a bowl of cereal to drink.  Er, eat.

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About the Author



Karl has written about food, travel and beer for Chicago Magazine, Draft Magazine, Thrillist, Time Out Chicago and more. His book, Beer Lovers Chicago, comes out in late 2017, and if you’re buying, he’s likely having a porter or a pale ale.

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