Short's Brewing, a tiny beermaker in the even tinier Michigan village of Bellaire, caused a stir at last year's Great American Beer Festival when social media (including a tweet by beer guru Charlie Papazian) made it the buzz beer to find. And find it people did. When the dust cleared and the long, long lines at its booth gave way, Short's was flat out of beer before the Friday session had even ended.
That won't happen this year. Not only will Short's command a coveted, double-sized endcap spot from which it will pour an astounding 23 beers, but the brewery, which only sells its beer in Michigan, plans to distribute eight of its beers in Denver liquor stores and bars -- just for a week or so, while the GABF frenzy is at its peak.
Those beers, sold in six-packs, are: Nicie Spice Wheat, Shorts Huma Lupa Licious, Bellaire Brown, Pandem Pale Ale, Autumn Ale and Bludgeon Black IPA.
"They're bringing in ten times as much beer this year, and they're really going to blitz the market," says Terry Cekola, president of Elite Brands of Colorado, which distributes a number of out-of-state craft beers throughout the state. "Almost every large retailer will have it, and some of of our bigger beer-geeky stores will as well."
It's an unusual idea, and one Cekola hasn't seen before. It also took some work, because Short's had to apply for a Colorado import license, just like any other out-of-state brewery that planned to sell its beer here on a regular basis. And Short's doesn't plan to do that. In fact, the brewery has said it has no plans to distribute outside of Michigan.
In other words, It will be a one-time opportunity for Denver-area beer geeks to try something they wouldn't normally see, Cekola adds.
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In 2010, Short's won GABF gold in the experimental-beer category for its "Key Lime Pie" -- a dessert beer brewed with lime, milk, graham crackers and marshmallow crème. That beer will be back on hand at the festival this year, the brewery says.