Happy little accident: My encounter with Shorty’s broad beer palette

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BREWERY SCENE

by Jeff Rogers


bobross


brewery scene logo

If you’ve got more than enough Bob Ross moments — happy little accidents — in your life, then I envy you. Most of us could use far more of those than the world provides. And when they happen, or when we stumble upon them, they should be enjoyed, cherished, and even celebrated.

I had one of these moments recently (OK, more than one). I entered a place which I knew served beer, but I expected a standard restaurant assortment. But hey, I was just going in for a quick bite to eat, not a vast exploration of brewing artistry. And last time I was there (quite a while ago), I didn’t recall anything particularly special about their beer selection. My first Bob Ross moment came when on the menu I saw something billed as a collaboration between the restaurant and a local brewery.

My second Bob Ross moment came as I perused the rest of the beer list and saw many craft brews from around NH and MA, of different styles and descriptions and sounding really interesting. (I glance around me… Had I been magically transported to HopKnot in downtown Manchester? Nope.) My third Bob Ross moment came when I tasted the collaboration beer — delicious. I nearly forgot all about the quesadillas I was about to order. 

I’ve always loved the quesadillas at Shorty’s Mexican RoadHouse – specifically in Manchester’s Northside Plaza (almost in Hooksett). But for beer? I expected Corona, Dos Equis, Budweiser. And they did have those standbys and usual suspects. But I would never have guessed Shorty’s would in fact offer a cornucopia of local brewing talent. I’m not sure who’s in charge of curating their beer list but they have really upped their game. I can only imagine that the Nashua location offerings are similar. [Editing Jeff says: As often happens, this supposition was wrong. A quick visit to the Untappd page (see below) for Shorty’s Nashua showed several differences from the Manchester beer list. Many different beers, but every bit as enticing. So I may need Mexican food in Nashua soon!]

That night I was in the mood for quesadillas and the menu listed several I didn’t remember from my earlier visits. The one that grabbed my attention was the Little Havana Cuban, with pulled pork, ham, dill pickles, mustard & swiss cheese. My mouth was watering, so of course I ordered one. Delicious and filling, I ended up taking half home. Made a great lunch the next day.

The beer was a collaboration with KettleHead Brewing in Tilton, a small brewery I covered in an earlier column. They named it Shorty’s Super Hombre, and I’m so pleased I made this discovery. An IPA, not strongly hopped, with a mild citrus tang. I hope I can have more of this as the weather warms up. I don’t know if this beer is more to the credit of the Shorty’s team or the KettleHead team, but I do know it’s a winner. More similar collaborations, please!


shortys beer 1


I woke up the next day with a hangover – not from the beer (I only had one, and with dinner), but from three Bob Ross moments so close together in one night. I was now obsessed with the Shorty’s beer list. I knew I had to return soon and explore their list some more. So I did, arriving the next day, a week day, around dinner time. The place was hopping, as usual, but I managed to find a spot at the bar. 

This time, to go with my beers, I order one of my old Shorty’s favorites, a portobello mushroom quesadilla, with caramelized onions, spinach and pepper jack cheese. Delicious, not as filling as the Cuban, but still great.

For my beer exploration, I started with a name I remembered from the night before and which had haunted me (in a good way) – Cloud Candy IPA, from Mighty Squirrel Brewing Co. in Waltham. This was another fantastic discovery. A very clear IPA with a super clean feel, undeniably sweet but not overdoing it. Definitely not a heavy beer, veering to the light side, but not too far, not insubstantial.


shortys beer 2


As the bartender was filling my glass, the keg gave up the ghost. So I started with just a half glass. The better to accommodate exploration. Another happy accident!

Before my quesadilla arrived I ordered a Funk Daddy sour IPA from Greater Good Imperial Brewing Company in Worcester. This was billed as a NEIPA that was somehow magically transformed into a sour with notes of orange and lemon zest. I have written often about how I’m not much of an IPA guy, even less of a NEIPA guy, but I will say this was pretty good. Not sure what the transformation from NEIPA to sour really entailed, but I can attest to the results. I would happily have another, and the citrus notes were welcome and not overpowering.


shortys beer 3


To go with my quesadilla, I ordered an Easy Operator IPA from Deciduous Brewing Company in Newmarket. Another win! Maybe I actually am becoming an IPA guy. (Like Pinocchio, “I’m a real boy now!”) This was a little hazy, a little pinkish in color. Not very hoppy – in fact, based on taste alone I would not have guessed this was an IPA. But at any rate a very good beer.


shortys beer 4


I hope to return to Shorty’s in Manchester soon, and here are of some of the other beverages that look worth a try:


SidetrailIPA

TieDyed

PlumIsland

BlackCherry

Fiddlehead

GuavaPassionFruit


And when I make it to their Nashua restaurant, the beer palette looks really broad & colorful:


Kukri

WorkingMansPorter

HauntedHouse

HiGlow

PseudoSue

FreeWave

QuestIPA

TipsUpCider


So do yourself a favor. Go out for some delicious Mexican food at Shorty’s in Manchester or Nashua, and while you’re there, take a stroll through the wild side of their beer menu. ¡Y buena suerte!


Just The Facts

Shorty’s Mexican Roadhouse in Manchester is located at…
1050 Bicentennial Drive,
Manchester NH 03104
(near Hannaford, almost in Hooksett)
Phone number: 603-625-1730

Shorty’s Mexican Roadhouse in Nashua is located at…
48 Gusabel Ave,
Nashua NH 03063
(near the Nashua Mall)
Phone number: 603-882-4070

Hours:
Sun-Thu — 11:30a – 9p
Fri-Sat — 11:30a – 10p

Email: use “contact” section of their website

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About this Author

Jeff Rogers

Jeff Rogers is a native Hoosier who’s lived in the Granite State for 30+ years. He’s worked on airborne radar systems and written a lot of software. Today he lives in Manchester where he seeks to answer the age-old question: saison, lager, ale or stout?