Saturday Sip: Short’s Freedom of ’78

Short's Freedom of '78 Guava India Pale Ale IPA

Freedom. It’s what we’re all celebrating today. Freedom from tyranny. The freedom to make our own choices and govern ourselves. The freedom gained by a band of revolutionaries in ’76.

In 1978 there was another band of revolutionaries. Homebrewers. This was where the craft beer movement started, with men and women tired of the same boring macrolagers. They found new, forgotten styles from overseas and set about recreating them at home, often with unique American twists. And up until 1978 what they were doing was illegal. But then Jimmy Carter signed H.R. 1377, which legalized homebrewing at a federal level.

Short’s Freedom of ’78, a collaboration with Chicago’s Half Acre, takes its name from that historic year in the craft beer movement and combines it with Ween’s song “Freedom of ’76”, which ultimately inspired the beer.

Freedom of ’78 is an IPA brewed with guava nectar. The guava, or at least what I assume is guava since my only experience with the fruit is tropical Starburst and I’m only guessing that guava is one of the flavors, makes itself readily apparent from the beginning, bursting forth from the frothy white head with a splash of tropical fruit aroma backed by the distinct smell of pine resin.

The taste is slightly unexpected. It begins with slightly sweet notes of the guava but quickly transitions to dank, pine, resinous hop bitterness, a bit like a northwest IPA brewed with New Zealand hops. Underneath it all is an undercurrent of pale malt and it finishes dry with bitterness and a chewy, resinous hop mouthfeel.

This is not a beer of checks and balances. The inclusion of guava almost hints at something slightly sweet and refreshing but this is a bitter bomb that declares freedom from yellow fizzy beers.

Bottling Date? – None, unfortunately. Short’s does have a release calendar on web its web site, which is at least something. It’s a specialty beer only released once a year, which also helps. This year’s was released in April, so as long as it’s not a year old you’re good.

Every bottle or can of beer should have a bottling date on it to ensure the customer is drinking fresh beer. Sadly many do not. Those are beers that, in most cases, I will not be drinking. I’m not wasting my money on beer that’s possibly lost all hop character or has oxidized to a nice cardboard taste. I’ll be including bottling date info, including how to decipher some of them, on all posts now. Breweries, put bottling dates on your beer!

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