Craft Beer to Cross the Border For: Short’s Autumn Ale

In Cross the Border For by Ryan

This week’s Craft Beer to Cross the Border For feature takes us to Michigan for a fall favorite from Short’s

autumnaleFor those of you that have crossed the border for a six-pack or two of Short’s, you’ve probably done so to snag their Strawberry Short’s Cake or Key Lime Pie. There’s no doubt Short’s does some really funky stuff — and they do it well — but sometimes they do an under-the-radar beer that doesn’t have off-the-wall ingredients or isn’t super-high in ABV. Those beers are subtle and unique and they’re a bit of a mind-bender because they shouldn’t be as good as they are — but they are. And Short’s Autumn Ale is one of those beers.

The Autumn Ale pours out a like a pile of multicolored leaves; a slightly scuffed apple red fills the middle of the glass while subtle orange hues stretch to the space closest to the edge of the glass. When I told Ben I was reviewing this beer he told me it smells like raking leaves — if such a smell exists — and I’ll be damned if I can’t think of a better description.

Perhaps, though, it’s not that the beer smells like something specifically Autumn but it certainly gives you a sense of Autumn — that sense of leaves crunching beneath your feet as you walk down a sidewalk wearing a thin fleece with the aroma of a smouldering fireplace in the air.

The taste is equally as autumnal. There are freshly picked apples steeped in pear juice, followed by a slight maple syrup sweetness and a warm smokiness — all with an undertone of unsweetened tea. Short’s Autumn Ale finishes dry with a mild, earthy — bordering on herbal — hoppiness.

Does Short’s brew better beers than the Autumn Ale? Sure. But this is more about the senses it conjures than the IBU’s or ABV. It’s a good beer in an under-appreciated category that is a great bridge beer between whatever you’ve been drinking this summer and whatever you will be drinking this fall.

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About the Author



Equal parts beer nerd and policy geek, Ryan is now the curator of the Guys Drinking Beer cellar. The skills he once used to dig through the annals of state government as a political reporter are now put to use offering unique takes on barrel-aged stouts, years-old barleywines and 10 + year verticals.

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