Snowed In With Shorts: “Freedom of 78” Review

In Beer Reviews by Karl

Didn’t we just do a whole week of Shorts 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. This time, it’s the “Freedom of 78”. 

Freedom of 78

Is this the same photo of the Half Acre? Yes. Did we forget to shoot a photo of the Shorts? Yes. Is it basically the same label anyways? Yes.

Shorts Says:

A nice medium bodied IPA with a wonderful bright clarity and pleasing bronze hue.  The aroma is a unique fusion of citrus fruit combined w/ subtle pine qualities.  The distinct characteristics of the guava nectar are impossible to miss as the sharp sweetness and slightly tart flavors snap across the palate.  Comparable attributes of tangerine, nectarine, and even some faint honey flavors are detectable.

Shorts “Freedom of 78”
Guava Wheat IPA, 6.9% ABV

Sayeth the Guys:

Karl: You’ll recall that the last time we sat down with the Freedom of ’78, it was a nice fresh hunk of fruity beer from the fine folks at Half Acre, just up or down the street from a couple of us respective Guys.  It was wheaty and fruity and green and fine, a full bomber of lawnmower beer with the familiar hop presence we’ve come to know and expect from the Half Acre guys.

The best part of these collaborations is being able to compare apples to apples, as it were – when two breweries make (essentially) the same beer, what kind of tiny changes do each brewer bring to the party?  Whose beer will you prefer?  And will it even be the same beer you remember?  For the most part, the Freedom of ’78 is pretty recognizable.  But is it better?

My main recollection of the Half Acre version is of a nice, crisp hoppy beer with some definite wheat characteristics but not as much fruit as I anticipated.  Maybe I thought there would be more guava kick from the Shorts influence last time, and I definitely wanted to see that fruit cut through the wheat this time.

I was surprised by the amount of pine flavor that started off the Shorts version of FREEEEEEDOMMMMMM (see prior review for explanation of said Braveheartery).  With a light body and minimal amount of head, this look of beer actually could pass for a pilsner if you weren’t paying attention.  The ABV for this beer is just a touch shy of the 7% reported by Half Acre, and it was pretty well hidden beneath the layers and layers of flavor.

The ’78 does start off like the Half Acre with a nice wave of piny hoppiness but then quickly recedes to a nice healthy dose of wheat flavor, drying it slightly and adding a hearty characteristic.  The tartness and general “green-ness” of the guava I was hoping for is definitely present, seemingly moreso than in the Half Acre.  The flavors bounce around, collide and run into each other across the palate and burst with little packets of citrus as well.

Differences between the two offerings from the brewers are really pretty slim, and I could go either way in terms of preference depending on the moment, the phase of the moon and the direction of the breeze.  Either way, both would be great on a summer afternoon, not being snowed under.   Alas, since this was a brewery one-off, I don’t think we’ll be seeing a return to the lawnmower for either of these beers.  Back to the Daisy Cutter, I suppose.

That said, since the inspiration for this beer started with a Ween record, what other records could create a great beer?

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About the Author

Karl

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Karl has written about food, travel and beer for Chicago Magazine, Thrillist, Time Out Chicago, AskMen and more. His book, Beer Lovers Chicago, is now available via Amazon and other booksellers.If you're buying, he's likely having a porter or a pale ale.

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