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2012 Short’s to Short’s Pre-Paddle Report

With a week to go before the 2012 Short’s to Short’s Paddle, we are especially excited for this year’s event. As indicated in our previous post, we’re making a lot…

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2012 Short’s to Short’s Paddle Update

More than 150 people have already registered for the 2012 Short’s to Short’s Paddle! By way of comparison, 128 people participated last year. We anticipate that as many as 300…

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2012 Short’s to Short’s Paddle Registration

We have been hard at work planning the 2012 Short’s to Short’s Paddle. This year’s event will take place on April 27, 2012.  Be sure to schedule that day off…

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Short’s GABF 2011 Update

The sold out Great American Beer Festival opened last night in Denver. Hours before opening, beer enthusiasts from around the country began gathering outside of the Colorado Convention Center. As soon as the doors opened, a flood of people poured in and headed for the new Short’s booth — a crowd that never went away all night long.

We mounted a GoPro Hero camera above our booth to capture the scene, which looked like this:

It is rewarding to serve 20 of our beers to the enthusiasts here, some of whom are very familiar with Short’s, and others who have never heard of our Michigan-only brewery. We are pouring: Anniversary Ale, Another Caucasian Gary, Autumn Ale, Bloody Beer, Bludgeon Yer Eye, Bourbon Wizard, Captain Fantasy, Carrot Cake, Cornholio, Freedom of ’78, Gambler, Huma Lupa Licious, Joyous Almondo, Key Lime Pie, Kolsch 45, Nicie Spicie, Prolonged Enjoyment, Spruce Pilsner, Whiskey Sour, and Woodmaster.

As one might expect, a good deal of buzz surrounds experimental beers like Carrot Cake, Key Lime Pie (2010 GABF Gold Medal winner), and its Whiskey Sour cousin. Some of our awesome non-experimental beers like Autumn Ale (a previous GABF medal winning ESB), Bludgeon Yer Eye (our black IPA), and Kolsch 45 have yet to be fully discovered by those new to Short’s, so it is exciting when people come back to try the various styles we are offering this year.

Much buzz also surrounds our booth this year. Beer Advocate tweeted: “Wow. @shortsbrewing #GABF booth is 100% win!” Getting praise like that is very rewarding, particularly after all of the time that Joe Short and Alan from Pro Image Design put into the design and building process.

We put together some photo galleries showing first night at GABF here and, if you are curious to see how it all came together, the setup. Hilariously, the night ended with our entire exhausted crew piling into a van (long story!) in order to get back to our hotel. This became an interesting study in how many people can fit into a van. See the video here.

We are planning to live-stream the GABF awards ceremony at our Pub at 3 p.m. on Saturday, so if you happen to be in the Bellaire area and want to see how everything unfolds, please stop by! Of course we are hoping for another medal this year, but regardless of what happens we know that we have put our entire heart and soul into the beer that we make. The reception that we’ve received in Colorado tells us that what we are doing is working: we are getting lots of people excited and curious about craft beer and getting people who already enjoy craft beer to appreciate it in a whole new way. In Joe’s words, we are showing people that beer can be outrageous, dignified, and delicious all at the same time. Thank you to all of our talented Short’s staff, patrons, fans, and to our GABF sponsors who helped make all of this possible.


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Saturday Tickets Still Available for Short’s/Pearl’s Bluegrass, Blues, Bourbon & Beer Fest

Even though the pre-sale tickets are sold out for tomorrow (Saturday), you can still get into the Bluegrass, Blues, Bourbon, and Beer Fest at the door. Just come on over to Pearl’s and we’ll see you there! We have a wide variety of rare Short’s Brews on tap that you won’t want to miss!


-SBC Festival Staff

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Bluegrass, Bourbon, Blues, and Beer Fest will Support TART Trail Extension

As previously noted, Short’s and Pearl’s are putting on a Bluegrass, Bourbon, Blues & Beer Festival on September 23rd and 24th on the premises of Pearl’s New Orleans Kitchen in Elk Rapids. Bourbon and Short’s Brew will be accompanied by great food, plus live blues and bluegrass music. We are also very excited to note that a portion of all proceeds will go to support an extension of the TART trail system from Acme to Elk Rapids. One dollar from each entry ticket sold and 25 cents from each food or beverage ticket sold will be donated to the TART Trail to help fund an extension of the TART trail network from Acme to Elk Rapids. Short’s believes that the extension of cycling trails throughout the Northwest Michigan area will greatly enhance the quality of life of those who live and vacation in this area. We are excited to partner with Pearl’s to move towards this goal.

TART is a non-profit organization that builds trails, advocates for active living and outdoor recreation. Their work includes negotiating easements, hosting annual events that promote healthy lifestyles, and defending cyclist and pedestrian interests. We hope that, at some point in the future, you may be able to ride your bike from Leelanau to Petoskey, through Traverse City and Elk Rapids. We believe that such a trail network would make our area a premier destination for cyclists because not only would we have an outstanding trail network, but it would be through a beautiful area featuring many interesting stops along the way.

– SBC Staff

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We’re Headed to Skinny’s Dad’s Bike Race

Next weekend the Short’s Brew crew is heading to Alpena County to participate in Skinny’s Dad’s Bike Race, a/k/a the 11th Annual Chippewa Hills Mountain Bike Race, which will take place on Saturday, September 17th, beginning at 1 p.m. Skinny’s dad and a bunch of his friends formed the Thunder Bay Trails Association to help build and protect trails in Northwest Michigan. Every year, they hold two fundraiser events to support this mission. This year, however, their annual ski race was cancelled due to warm weather. So, according to Skinny, his dad’s group needs an extra good turnout for this year’s bike race so that they can continue to protect the trails.

Skinny rides the Chippewa Hills trail with his dad all the time, so last year he convinced a big group of us to head to Alpena County for this race. It was awesome. The trail contains a huge variety of singletrack, with tight technical sections, fast downhills, and lots of elevation changes. We’ve ridden all over the state, and this is one of our favorite places. This year, our plan is to head out after work on Friday and set up tents near the race course. Then we’ll get up on Saturday and do the race. We’ll enjoy post-race beer and food, and then eventually make our way back to our side of Northern Michigan on Saturday night. If you’re interested in participating, here is a link to map of event location

The course is a nine mile loop. Everyone will start at 1 p.m. Beginners will do one lap, sport class will do 2 laps, and expert class will do 3 laps. The race will start and finish on private propery at 13018 Bartz Rd. Race day registration is only $25. Prizes and awards will be handed out at 3:30 p.m. The top 5 finishers in respective class/age divisions will get awards. For further info contact Randy Fairbanks a/k/a Skinny’d dad by e-mail at [email protected].

We’ll have lots of beginner riders joining us for the event. After all, it’s more about having fun and getting a workout than anything else. So even if you haven’t raced before, we’d welcome you to join us.

Wondering who Skinny is? His real name is Nick Fairbanks. He works at our Elk Rapids Brewery and helps install all of the fancy new equipment that we use in order to make our beer. He also keeps us thoroughly entertained with his sense of humor.

-Team Huma

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Short’s Went to Washington

A couple weeks ago, Short’s had the opportunity to attend SAVOR, the nation’s premier beer and food pairing event. While in D.C., Short’s took its message of beer liberation to Congress, partnered with Churchkey to bring 30 taps of Short’s Brew to the people of D.C., and networked with many of our friends in the craft brewing industry. Since we know many Short’s fans would have loved to attend these events, we made a short video to document our experiences. We hope you enjoy it!

-Short’s Beer Liberation Staff

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Third Annual Short’s to Short’s Paddle: 128 Paddlers Strong!

Though it was cold and rainy for several days before this year’s Short’s to Short’s, 128 brave paddlers gathered at the Bellaire boat launch early last Friday morning to participate in the 3rd Annual S2S Paddle. And, although it was raining and cloudy when we went to bed the night before, the morning of the Paddle dawned clear, cool, and calm. By 7:00 a.m., paddlers were streaming into Bellaire. Though we had a couple setbacks (the porta-potty to be delivered on Thursday night arrived just moments after all of the participants departed), everyone worked together to get ready for the paddle and, by the time we took the group picture at 7:30, almost everyone was ready to get onto the water.

The growth of this event from 25 participants in 2009, to 80 in 2010, and 128 this year, has been very rewarding to all of us at Short’s. We do not have verification of this, but have been told that this event is now among the largest (if not the largest) kayaking events in Michigan. However, we are most proud of the good natured, adventurous spirit exemplified by all of this year’s S2S Paddlers. We have several great ideas to improve the event for next year, and look forward to continued growth into the future!

While the S2S is not a race, we were fortunate this year that Denny Paull, an avid paddler and kayak racer, participated. While most of us finish the S2S in 8-10 hours, Denny finished in just 4 hours and 45 minutes, and that was stopping at each of the drop out points noted on the S2S map (not a requirement of the event). Denny reported that even in his long distance events, he had never paddled more than 20 miles and was not sure how his body and mind would hold up. No less, Denny beat his goal of finishing the 27.2 mile event in under 5 hours. We congratulate Denny on his awesome accomplishment and hope that he will return next year to turn in an even faster, self-timed course record!

Exemplifying the dynamic nature of Short’s events, the most talked about finishers of this year’s S2S Paddle were Dave Clapp and his sister, Anne Blount. Dave finished restoring his grandfather’s 1940s-era wooden rowboat just two days before this year’s event and decided that an appropriate way to christen this beautiful watercraft would be to paddle it “from Short’s to Short’s.” Setting out from Bellaire in the early morning and taking turns rowing all day long, Dave and Anne arrived at the Riverwalk at about 8:30 p.m. to great applause (most of us had been enjoying Short’s Brew on draft for a few hours and were in especially good sprits!).

Denny Paull’s race-pace, contrasted against Dave and Anne’s epic display of perseverance to honor a late relative’s hand-built boat, demonstrate the true “choose your own” adventure nature of the Short’s to Short’s Paddle. Both the first finisher and the last were, equally impressive, and equally appreciated! From all of us at Short’s, we thank everyone who participated in and volunteered to help make this year’s event such a huge success.

To view Joe’s photos from the event, click here. To view Matt’s photos, click here. And for those of you who attended Short’s 7th Anniversary Party on Saturday night, stay tuned for our recap of that event, which will be posted soon!

– Short’s Brewing Company Paddle Organizers

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Short’s 7th Year Anniversary Party

We’re Celebrating 7 Years And You’re Invited

On Saturday, April 30, 2011 we are celebrating the fact that it’s been 7 years since we opened our doors in Bellaire, Michigan. It is no secret that Short’s and our loyal fans are taking over the Michigan craft beer scene and that we have a lot to celebrate! Since 2010 was the biggest year in Short’s history, we decided to make this year’s Anniversary Party more epic than ever before!

The party kicks off at 3 p.m. We will have about 30 beers on tap for you to try, including several new beers never served at our pub before, plus cask Anniversary Ale, Cask Golden Rule, and two other specialty casked beers to be announced! These special cask beers kick off of our Real Ale Program, and you will not want to miss them! Aside from the new cask beers, the beer list will include: Anniversary Ale, Huma Lupa Licious, Magician, Pandemonium Pale Ale, Soft Parade, Bellaire Brown, Autumn Ale, Village Reserve, Locals Light, Pontius Road Pilsner, Chocolate Wheat, Sustenance Black Ale, Rye Not, Belgian IPA, Black Licorice, Bludgeon Yer EyePA, Bananarama, Key Lime Pie, Curl, Hangin’ Frank, Carrot Cake, Mama’s Milk, Richard in the Dirt, Pineapple Side Down, Whiskey Sour, 2008 Black Cherry Porter, 2008 Chocolate Raspberry Shorter, 2008 Noble Chaos. In addition, Bourbon Sustenance, Bourbon Black Cherry Porter, Bourbon Wizard, and Good Samaritan will be available to those touring our brewery.

The party will also feature a special menu, a State of the Brewery Address from Joe Short, commemorative t-shirts, and live music by Reggie and the After Party, Valentiger, and Kieth Scott.

We will see you there!

-SBC Staff

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ISLAND Holds Successful Fundraiser at Short’s

Over 200 people poured through the doors of Short’s Brewing Company on Saturday, April 16 in support of the Institute for Sustainable Living, Art and Natural Design (ISLAND). The annual benefit concert and silent auction, now in its fifth year, was the most successful yet, raising approximately $6,000.

“We are overwhelmed with the community support,” says Amanda Kik, ISLAND’s Co-director. “We are a small, bootstrap organization, squeezing every penny to make it go as far as it can.”

The lineup included musicians from across the state, including Airborne or Aquatic?, Gifts or Creatures, Samuel Seth Bernard, May Erlewine, Mike Shimmin, and Samantha Robbins.

Money from the benefit will be used to support ISLAND’s major projects: Throughout the year, ISLAND hosts both national and international artists through its Artist Residency Program, supporting writers, musicians and non-studio artists with time and space to create new work. The CRAFT Program (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) connects small farms and beginning farmers through a network of support, workshops, farm tours and potlucks. Chaotic Harmony is a new and original interdisciplinary performance commemorating the life and work of Gwen Frostic. ISLAND works with garden projects at Central Lake Elementary School and Rapid City Elementary School, including a new community garden.

More information about ISLAND may be found at View Short’s photos of the event, here.

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2011 Short’s to Short’s Paddle Update and Registration

Here at Short’s, we have been hard at work planning the 2011 Short’s to Short’s Paddle. This year’s event will take place on April 29, 2011. This is an annual event to symbolize the efforts we put forth, here in Northern Michigan, to provide the entire Great Lakes State with Short’s Brew! The paddle makes several connections to honor our seven years of business and the link between our original Bellaire Pub and our Elk Rapids production facility. There is a lot of water between Bellaire and Elk Rapids! Twenty seven miles, in fact!

Pre-Paddle Reception

We are going to have a Pre-Paddle reception at our pub in Bellaire on Thursday night, April 28th. This will be a great chance to meet other paddlers and plan for the next day! Event details to follow!

Short’s to Short’s Location and Schedule

As with prior years, the launch site for this event is the public access site on the Intermediate River, which is behind Fisher Insurance in Bellaire. We will have a check-in station and you will need to bring or fill out a liability waiver before commencing the event! The event schedule for April 29th is as follows:

7:00 a.m. Pre-launch gathering behind Fisher Insurance in Bellaire (just down from the brewery) at the public launch.

7:30 Photo shoot with all the paddlers

8:00 a.m. launch

The paddle will take between 8 and 12 hours depending on your gear, skill level, and pace. The finish will be at the Elk River boat launch in downtown Elk Rapids. Plan to team up with another paddler to arrange transportation. We will be gathering at the Riverwalk Grill, located at 106 Ames Street in Elk Rapids, for a special post-paddle reception.

This map shows the route that the Paddle follows. If weather conditions are not favorable, please plan to change your final destination plans.

a. Clam Lake – the shortest run, but at least you get to go through the grass river natural area. It’s beautiful. Very little open water and you paddle with the current.

b. The Dockside – Located right before Torch Lake, this is where we advise you to stop if weather conditions are rough. This is a great place to beach your kayak and a great place to get some Short’s Brew or a bite.

c. Alden – After proceeding onto Torch Lake and following the shoreline to the south, you reach the town of Alden. This is a great place to rest.

d. Torch River – The route follows the Torch River from Torch Lake into Lake Skegamog. If you are fatigued after the Torch Lake stretch, this is an excellent place to rest or drop out of the event, as there is a public access site at the entrance to the river and restaurants nearby.

e. Skegemog – The Torch River provides a nice cool down and a chance for you to re-evaluate whether or not you want to finish the open stretch on Lake Skegemog and finish on Elk Lake. Safety boats are still an option for bailing here.

f. Downtown Elk Rapids – Congratulations if you make it this far!  But even if you don’t, please stop by at the Riverwalk Grill in Elk Rapids for the Post-Paddle reception!

Safety Considerations

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of safety. This event covers vast distances of water, which is still very cold in late April. Wearing appropriate gear and being skilled is important. We do not recommend attempting to complete this event if you are a beginner. (Consider attempting the only the early river stretches but not the large lake sections).

Remember: Keep it simple, safe, and fun. Do your research, have a plan. Know your limit and anticipate a drop out point if needed. If it’s windy and cold, the open water stretches may change your final destination plans or vessel choice. We do not suggest proceeding across the open water stretches if conditions are rough.

A few things you might want to consider:

a. Paddle with a partner. Stay together and with the rest of the group. Look out for each other.

b. Water – should be in plastic bottles, those should remain with you until you finish or find an appropriate trash receptacle

c. Food – If you don’t plan on patronizing any of the local check points, then you might want to bring a snack or several. Keep your trash with you – keep our precious waters clean!

d. Change of clothes in waterproof container and clothes for shedding or adding depending on the weather. GOOD GEAR IS ESSENTIAL FOR SURVIVING A WINDY DAY

e. Headlamp or flash light

f. Tow rope

g. Life jacket/wet suit/dry suit

h. Walkie talkie or cell phone

i. Tell someone where you are at and what you are doing that day

There will be safety boats offering support to paddlers. Of course, these boats will be manned by volunteers and do not ensure your safety! You are on your own to plan ahead, know your route, and judge whether you are skilled enough to participate!

What Kind of Boat Should I Use?

We use sea kayaks with spray skirts. This type of kayak allows you to cruise at a decent speed all day and provides the best stability in open water stretches. Spray skirts keep your boat from swamping in waves. Again, if you are not experienced at kayaking, we do not recommend participation in the open water stretches!

A number of participants choose to use river kayaks and participate in the first half of the event, finishing at the Dockside. This is a great way to participate even if you are a beginner or do not have a sea kayak.

Each year, a number of folks also attempt the event using canoes! This is fine, but paddling a canoe for 27 miles is a serious undertaking!

Transportation – Choose Your Own Adventure

Short’s is not able to provide vehicle transportation for paddlers. You must arrange transportation with your paddle partner or group. We encourage fellow paddlers to network with each other to determine a transportation plan.


We are Short’s so, of course, we enjoy a good beer! However, we do not encourage the consumption of alcohol during this event. Obviously we cannot police your alcohol use, but we suggest refraining from consumption of alcohol during the event.

Register Online!

Register for this year’s event by clicking here:  Please print out and sign the liability waiver and bring it to the event!

Safety Boat Sign-Up

Are you interested in serving as a Safety Boat Captain? Please sign up here! If you do not have a boat, but would be interested in serving as a boat crew member, feel free to indicate that on the sign up form!


Shanty Creek Resort has generously extended a $99 room rate special for the Short’s to Short’s Paddle/Anniversary Party weekend.  Use promotional code SHORTS to redeem this offer.   This is a great deal and, for those who don’t know, Shanty Creek provides shuttle service to and from our pub!

Other Accommodations

As always, we anticipate the help of our local commerce to commemorate this by opening their doors and selling food and Short’s Brew along with other provisions. We will continue to provide updates as the Paddle date gets closer!

See you on the 29th!

-SBC Crew

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