Shorts Brewing Company | Soft Parade
ABV: 7.5% | IBU: 15
The mad genius of Soft Parade is that it’s a year-round beer. When you look at that label—which I’ve obsessed over before—it screams a late summer beer (which is why I’m talking about it now). However, it has the heft to get you through fall and summer and a sweetness to pick you up with the blooming each spring. Shorts says they created it to appeal to wine drinkers, and I think they might have failed. Instead, they created a product that can hit the beer drinkers who want sweet and unique, the people who want a heavy hearty ale, and the people who want to just get fucked up (that 7.5% ABV always comes as a shock).
My favorite thing about Soft Parade is the smell. Soft Parade smells like baking broken down into components—you have all of the parts and pieces it takes to make a final delicious item. You can smell the fruit, and you can smell the extracted enhanced sugars of the fruits (particularly the strawberry and raspberry) that occur when you begin mixing fruit with all the corn starches and flour and spices. Apparently, the same occurs when brewing if you know your stuff, because no other beer has ever achieved the same sensation.
Soft Parade’s appearance also resembles pie filling. It’s a rich dusty maroon that looks like it has a lot of sedimentary flakes drifting around, but you won’t actually taste grit or see it pool. A nice hazy cloud is ever-present in your glass with sweet pink edges. The beer’s taste is a bit paradoxical. Sure, it does have a berry pie taste, but the focus here would be on the crust over the filling. You have this reddish beer packed full of fruit, but it has a pretty heavy flavor. The rye and ale comes through a lot more than the fruitiness. As weird as the term is, it has a full mouthfeel. Sugar twists around the edges but the main smack of the deal is its big bold heft.
I’d recommend getting your hands on this brew as the season starts turning into fall—it’s the perfect ending to any day that you wish you had a nice big slice of strawberry rhubarb pie.