Who wouldn’t want to try a beer called Soft Parade, which, according to the label, is a “high gravity ale fermented with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.”
I know not everyone likes fruit beers. I love ‘em – if they are good fruit beers. When I homebrewed, fruits were part of my palette, just another ingredient to experiment with in the eternal search for the perfect beer.
I think I came near perfection on a couple occasions, the last one being a high gravity ale brewed with 12 pounds of three varieties of handpicked Door County apples. By the time it had aged six months in the bottle, it had become an amazing strong ale with a complex malty flavor that said absolutely nothing about apples. I had people taste it and asked them to identify flavors. No one ever said “Apples.” To me, that beer was the closest I ever came to brewing a great Belgian ale.
But back to Soft Parade. My internet is working again (woohoo!), so I learned that it is the flagship brew of Short’s Brewery of Belleaire in northwestern Michigan.
Here is how the brewery describes it:  “a Fruit Rye Ale brewed with rye flakes and loaded with pureed strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. This rose-colored ale has aromas of ripe strawberries and grain. With flavors of fresh berries and rye, Soft Parade finishes dry and eminently drinkable.”
I wholeheartedly concur. And I like the story behind it. Brewery founder Joe Short explains on the website that when he worked as a brewer at Traverse City Brewing, The Doors’ 1969 album The Soft Parade would be played at the end of each day’s shift. Fast forward to coming up with this brew at his own brewery. Short had the beer but he didn’t have a name for it until he unexpectedly came across a CD of Soft Parade. Eureka!
Dig the story and the beer. The berries brighten up my mouth and The doors connection makes me smile.
Need I mention to complete this circle that Soft Parade was the first full-length album I purchased as a mod young lad in Duluth? That Robby Krieger sure can play guitar. And John Densmore. What a drummer!