Brewed by Short’s Brewing Company
Robust imperial porter fermented with 780lbs of Michigan sweet black cherries.
I’ve been brewing this beer every summer since 2004, so it’s essentially the odd beer in the series. We bottled it as a ’safety’ beer in case I couldn’t finish the rest of the series in time. Every year when the sweet black cherries are ripe and falling off the trees we go fill up our giant tub full of cherries. Every year I have processed the cherries differently. The first time I attempted to mash them up by stomping on hem with my bare feet. After lots and lots of mashing and frozen purple toes, I went to a blender. One pitcher at a time for 500 pounds they were chopped and tossed into the fermenter. The following year I tried pressing them with an apple press with struggled results. On this particular batch I bought pitted cherries and went back to the blend, one pitcher at a time until all 500 lbs. were blended and poured into the fermenter. Northern Michigan is a leading cherry produced in the United States primarily with the tart cherry production. Its sweet cherry production ranks in the top four with the Grand Traverse region producing 80% of the production at 50 million pounds. Cherries contain anthocyanins which are strong anti-oxidants that reduce pain and inflammations. Cherries also contain melatonin which is great for strengthening the immune system. They are rich in vitamin C and potassium which is good for your skin and for a healthy heart. Sweet cherries date back to pre-historic Asia. They have been enjoyed for centuries by Roman conquerers, Greek citizens and Chinese noblemen. Pliny the Elder tells us they arrived in Italy around 74 B.C. They made their way to Britain and across the ocean a few hundred years later. The Black Cherry Porter Recipe was our very first "imperial" strength beer ever brewed at SBC. I remember nearly overflowing the mash tun with malt until it crested the top of the man way doors, and staying with it all night long because the thick heavy mash made the process extremely slow. This beer was important to include in the series because it’s a good example of the ridiculous amount of work we put into the imperial series. We try to keep our ingredients fresh and local, putting the power of the smallness back into the hardworking Northern Michigander. This is one example of a luscious American porter touched with a subtle essence of Northern Michigan sweet black cherries.