Our Annual Tribute to Joe Short: The Liberator Returns!

The Liberator — our American Double India Pale Ale made with lemon and orange zest — is back. With an ABV of 7.5%, the Liberator packs a mighty 95.5 IBUs (on a scale of 100). We use eight different hop varieties in the Liberator. Seven of those are used in the boil and again in the dry hop, along with the eighth variety that is only used as a dry hop addition. To put it into perspective, we use more than twice the amount of hops (by weight) in the Liberator as we do in Huma Lupa Licious. In order to cram all of these hops into this one awesome beer, Tony devised a plan to add approximately 1.5lbs of hops every 4 minutes, during a 120 minute boil, so the total number of additions would equal 30 (in honor of Joe’s 30th birthday). Tony and our other Elk Rapids Brewers, Curt Guntziller and Aaron Smith, replicated this process on a much larger scale for this year’s bottle release.

The Liberator was originally brewed in November 21, 2008 at our Pub in Bellaire. The first batch was made in secrecy by brewer Tony Hansen who wanted to create a special beer for Joe and surprise him with it on his 30th birthday. In order to keep it a secret, Tony had to juggle the beer between multiple fermentors and conditioning tanks, each time intentionally mislabeling the beer so that Joe wouldn’t suspect anything. Finally, on Joe’s birthday, a lone growler of the Liberator was brought to our (then) newly acquired production facility in Elk Rapids, where Joe was already overseeing the immense construction project at hand. There, Joe and a few of our brew staff tasted this epic double IPA for the first time. Everyone agreed that for such an immensely hoppy double IPA, the result is very drinkable and refreshing. You may find that, as hard as this beer is to resist, you will want to keep some in the back of your fridge for a hot July day.

The label art for the Liberator was originally designed and used for a Short’s Great American Beer Festival sponsorship t-shirt. People who paid $100 to help send us to the GABF in 2007 received $1.00 pints at the pub for an entire year and a snazzy tee shirt. If you look at the bottle label, the city depicted in the background is actually Denver. We all liked the artwork so much, that when it came time to bottle the Liberator, it seemed like a perfect fit.

Even as we publish this release, you should be able to find the Liberator in a store near you. We hope that you enjoy this year’s batch as much as we enjoyed brewing and bottling it for you! Oh, and one more thing: Happy Birthday Joe!

– SBC Brew Staff