Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Best of NM 2012 · Best Michigan Product
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Best Michigan Product

- March 26th, 2012  

Short’s Brewing Company

When Short’s Brewing Company produced those first 178 barrels of beer in 2004, they must have known they were on to something special. Since then, production at their Bellaire brewpub and now the Elk Rapids brewery has grown exponentially, along with the popularity of the brand.

Now, Short’s Brewing Company beers, on tap or in bottles, are a common sight throughout Northern Michigan. So popular are they that readers of Northern Express voted the beer Michigan’s Best Product.

The Express talked to brewery founder Joe Short about beer, art and business.

Northern Express: Before you got into making beer, before there was a lot of craft beer for sale in Northern Michigan stores, what kind of beer did you like to drink? What do you think about that kind of beer now?

Joe Short: Back when I became interested in craft beer, there were very few kinds being sold in Antrim County. I liked Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I was always looking for Pale Ales and IPAs to purchase. When I could find Bell’s Two Hearted or Bell’s Pale Ale, I’d buy as much as I could get my hands on. I still love those beers today.

NE: Tell us about those wonderful Short’s labels. I understand many of them are made by an old college friend of yours, Fritz Horstman, who is a successful artist in his own right. How did you two get started working together?

Short: I met Fritz through a friend at Western Michigan University. I used the name “Short’s Brew” on all of my old home brews, and Fritz came up with the dancing Short’s logo way before I opened the brewery. We’ve been working together ever since. When we need a new label, I’ll describe it to Fritz and he’ll send a few test drawings. When we land on one we like, he’ll finish it.

NE: What beer are you most proud of creating?

Short: It is hard to choose, but I would have to start with my favorite, Huma Lupa Licious. As someone who loves American IPAs, Huma Lupa Licious is my conception of what an ideal IPA should taste like. That’s why Huma is my favorite beer and, I’m proud to say, our best selling beer. I am also tremendously proud of the Imperial Beer Series of 2007, which included Bloody Beer, Spruce Pilsner, Black Licorice Lager, Woodmaster, Peaches & Crème, Abnormal Genius, Publican Porter, Imperial Soft Parade, Aorta Ale, Black Cherry Porter, the Good Feller, and Ginger in the Rye. Over the past year, we have begun seasonally releasing many of these beers in 12 oz. bottles and that has been very rewarding.

NE: What is the most unusual ingredient you have used in a beer?

Short: Probably horseradish for the Bloody Beer. However, I am also proud of the way we used Rooibos and Lapsang Souchong tea leaves to mimic the flavors of smoke and tobacco in the Gambler, which was an experimental IPA designed to replicate the experience of drinking bourbon and smoking a cigar at the same time. The Gambler was recently chosen by Draft Magazine as one of the top 25 beers in America in 2011.

NE: When do your ideas for beers come to you?

Short: Typically at 10:45 pm on clear, full moon nights. Just kidding. Really, there is no defined answer here because you can’t schedule inspiration. Trust me, I’ve tried. Ideas are born from a lot of things like books, movies, food, taking hikes & walks, long drives and dreams. My creative direction with beer is consistently evolving. I also give a lot of credit to Tony Hansen, our Director of Brewing Operations, and other staff members. Short’s employees are always coming up with really cool ideas. We have a policy that no idea is a bad idea. Some ideas are just harder to pull off than others.

NE: What’s your favorite compliment you’ve gotten on a beer?

Short: “I never appreciated beer until I tried yours, and now I love beer!” Or, “I don’t know how you guys do it, but this stuff is amazing!” One of my main goals is to change people’s minds about beer. It is a difficult task, because everyone has different tastes. That is why we have 20 different kinds of beer on tap every day at our pub. Oh, and I also like when people ask if we could put a Short’s Brewery in their town, because it means that they enjoy our beer and our pub.

NE: How often to you come up with an unusual idea for a beer, make a batch, and decide you have to go back to the drawing board?

Short: We are getting really good at hitting the mark on our first try, but there are occasions when we try something and are not satisfied with the result. I brewed Carrot Cake three times because I was convinced that there was room for improvement, but then ended up deciding I liked the first batch the best. If we don’t hit the mark, you wouldn’t know about it because we wouldn’t release it. Given that our beer is so expensive to make, and therefore really painful to dump out, we put a ton of research into every new beer before we brew. We have a method that we use for developing recipes and we spend lots of time mixing ingredients beforehand to get an idea of what the final product will taste like. It is a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. Creating new beers is one of our favorite things to do, and I enjoy the challenge of continuing to be creative while also managing our company’s growth. It keeps everything new and exciting.

NE: What advice would you have for young people who want to become entrepreneurs in Northern Michigan?

Short: Entrepreneurs are folks who love what they do, and as a result they do whatever it takes to bring their ideas to fruition. Even if I didn’t work at Short’s, I’d be making beer and bottling it to give it to my friends, the way I did in the beginning. So first of all, choose something that you love to do and are naturally good at. After that, my best advice is to be tenacious and passionate. In the beginning, I had to work around the clock to keep my business alive. Finally, I believe than an emphasis on quality is extremely important. When I opened my business in Bellaire, I knew we would need to be able to draw people based on the quality of our beer alone. If we didn’t make good beer, people wouldn’t travel out of their way to get it.

NE: I see from your website that Short’s staff takes questions from home brewers about the craft via email. What do you enjoy about helping people who want to make beer on their own? Do you get a lot of questions? What kind of questions do you get?

Short: At this point in my brewing career, it’s really easy for me to answer questions because I’ve had experience with everything these folks are encountering. It doesn’t take much time to answer a few questions that might save someone a lot of agony and get them on the right track. I’m a helper by nature. I like to solve problems and think about potential solutions. That’s largely what I do now anyway, just on a really big scale. I like putting my knowledge and experience to work. I really enjoy talking about beer and helping other brewers find joy in the craft of brewing.

Unfortunately, more and more, we have more people asking specifically about the processes or formulations that we use to make certain brews. For obvious reasons, we have to keep many of those secrets to ourselves. It is becoming increasingly difficult to tell if someone who asks us a question is a homebrewer or someone who wants to start a brewery and brew like Short’s. Still, it never hurts to ask us a question, and we make an effort to respond to every email that we receive.

NE: What’s going on with the proposal to open a Short’s Brewpub on the harbor in Elk Rapids?

Short: We proposed an idea for the redevelopment of the former Bech’s Mustard Factory on Dexter Street. It doesn’t sound like the Village is going to sell us the property, but we’re discussing a lease. At this time we’re exploring all options. We do want to develop an Elk Rapids brewpub of some sort, because that is where our production brewery is located, but we’re just not sure how it’s going to happen at this time. We are currently in the process of renovating the inside of our production brewery and preparing for the arrival of 16 new tanks, so, as always, I seem to have a million things happening at the same time.

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