Shoes of a Clown

Clown Shoes are a brewery based in Ipswich, Massachusetts who are largely unheard of in the UK but fairly well regarded across the pond. Recently some of their beers have been available via the Brewdog online store; so grabbed a few  and my thoughts follow below. All of these score above 95% on RateBeer*, so would expect them to be decent.

Galactica is a galaxy hopped IPA 8% hazy mid amber with a lacing of off white head. i didn't get a picture but I'm sure you can imagine what it looks like. A fruity tropical citrus  character (think clementine and grapefruit) on the nose. Fairly fruity malt and red berries sweetness, pithy hops, flavours don't quite lieup with my expectations of the hops, but decent nevertheless.Not too boisterous bitterness wise, its a decent IPA and wears its ABV well but  as with many American beers it seems to be there as a selling point rather than being needed to prop up the beer, I'd much rather a sessionable version.

Hoppy feet is of  that oxymoronic style Black IPA. Some people may loathe them but I generally enjoy them. This one was okay, it didn't blow me away, I've certainly had better black IPAs at 7% ABV from both home and abroad. Its a dark brown with pillowy beige head, gentle carbonation and  moderate body. Piney and orangey, chocolate malt, dry, slightly burntified, toast, bitter hops, its in the right ballpark but not outstanding.

Next up, Tramp Stamp a "bodacious Belgian IPA". I'm not sure how the name relates to the beer and the latent sexism and lower back shot certainly isn't required. Dodgy name choice aside the beer doesn't quite work. The alcohol is pretty obvious for starters, finishing quite hot and those Belgian yeast esters romp all over the hops. The orange peel does work nicely, especially within the aroma, but this beer (and the choice of name) just isn't for me.

The best of the bunch was Clementine, a white IPA with the eponymous fruit immediately apparent on the nose alongside more traditional belgian yeast and corriander notes. Its very full bodied, creamy from the wheat additions, with fruity hops and orangepeel. If you'd written off hopped wits as one step too far in the hops arms race, give this one a try. It works really well,perhaps due to the alcohol being lower than in their IPAs allowing the hops and yeast to sing together.

As a bonus review (sampled last year via alesela) Chocolate Sombrero is  a 9%  belter of an imperial stout with all manner of added spicings. Its a hazy ruby, tinged brown, beige lacing. The nose is chocolate and kola cube like someone has melted together a bar of Bournville with cola bottle sweets. As its warms there's also a rich breakfast coffee coming through In the mouth its dry cocoa powder, sweet malts, smoky chipotle and a slight chili bite on finish It doesn’t taste its strength but certainly packs a punch. I certainly enjoyed it but had perhaps expected more from it - you can't always believe the hype.

So overall a fairly disappointing bunch this time around, with only really the Clementine recommended to buy if you see it. They're fairly priced given their ABV but would rather spend the money on tastier UK releases. Of course I can't speak for freshness of the beers, all were within date and Brewdog have a decent distribution chain but perhaps the hop-forward beers would give a better showing in their native habitat. Up to you to decide.

*Make of that what you will.  NB Clementine is above 95% within its style, not overall.


  1. Clown Shoes brews are quite popular down here (Barcelona), but I have similar feedback to give about them. I guess that freshness is an important issue to consider if you're not locally sampling these beers. Nonetheless, they're pricey: there are better and cheaper alternatives all across Europe. Cheers.

    1. Hi Joan, cheers for the comment. Sounds like Barcelona gets plenty of choice anyway (and a Brewdog bar due soon too!)

  2. Get a bottle of Undead Party Crasher. All the other Clown Shoe beers tremble beneath it's mighty flavour!