Short’s Autumn Ale
ESB, 5.75% ABV
“Our London ESB is true to style. With a medium amber color and a perfect balance of initial malty sweetness fused with soft fruity esters. The finish lingers with hop characteristics including strong flavor, pleasant aroma and a medium bitterness. A user friendly delight for bridging the gap between malty and hoppy beer styles.”
Sayeth the Guys:
Karl: Appropriately enough, the Short’s Autumn Ale pours a bea-youuuuuuu-tiful candy apple red, one of the loveliest colors I’ve ever seen in a beer. And that’s about the most identifiable characteristic of this beer. This is one inscrutable beverage. I think I mean that in a good way, but I’m still not sure.
Short’s describes this as an ESB. I had this on a Monday evening, after a weekend where I had enjoyed a Ska Brewing ESB or two. I’ve had a Fuller’s ESB in my day as well. This resembles an ESB to my palate, but…it’s not quite there. It’s mildly bitter, yes, and very lightbodied, but there’s a lot more going on with this beer. Again, I’m still not sure what.
Do you get that this is a perplexing beer? There are hints of maple, and smoke, and maybe even tree bark, but nothing jumps out at you all at once or even at all. It’s a subtle canvas of smears of color, blending into each other and making each shade a little different, a little murky. It’s an enigma wrapped in a puzzle poured into a 12oz. bottle and wrapped with a label.
It is noticeably dry on the finish, and there is a definite hint of red apple that becomes more discernable as it opens. There’s also the now-familiar Short’s Funk on the nose, the kind we noticed with the Key Lime, and I’m not talking about the skunked bottles. There’s a general flavor and scent that sits behind a number of Short’s beers that is just strange to me, and I found it in here as well.
Beyond that, this is definitely a WTF beer. Ryan told me it’s autumn in a bottle. I was hyped to try this one – and came away shrugging. Is it a good beer? A bad beer? I still don’t even know. Maybe Ryan can explain it better than I.
Ryan: Um, I can’t. Well, maybe I can bu…Oh what the hell, I’ll give it a shot.
Much like Karl I was enamored with the color of this beer. It looks like…fall. More like a leaf in between colors, changing from a bright red to brown. Maybe? The nose is rather clean. Clean meaning that there is not much to pick up and also clean because I detected a little bit of soap. Maybe? Like Pine-Sol or some sort of pine or evergreen.
Take a sip and you get a light and thin beer with no easily discernible taste. There are flavors here, but I am not sure what they are. I too got a little maple syrup, some smokiness, a little bit of apple and a slightly bitter finish. Maybe there was a bit of unsweetened tea in there? I think I got other stuff too – but I’ll be damned if I could tell you what they were.
I like this beer because I don’t understand it. And because it tastes good, goes down smooth and does remind me of autumn. But mostly because I don’t understand it. I wish I could tell you to try because you like __________ in a beer. But I don’t know what __________ is. So why don’t you try it and tell us what’s in it. Because we really have no idea.