Monthly Archives: June 2013

Clowning around

Yes folks. It’s time again for yet another beer review! I know you’re excited.

Today’s offering comes from our fine friends at Clown Shoes Brewery. Gregg Berman and his cohorts from Massachusetts have been in operation for less than 4 years, and it’s pretty astounding what they’ve accomplished in that amount of time. I reviewed their fantastic Brown Angel a while back, and now it’s time for the equally delightful Hoppy Feet 1.5, which was created as a sort of celebration of their first year of successful operation.

Clown Shoes Hoppy Feet 1-5

First, the nose. It’s definitely heavy in its sweetness, with a very healthy scent of caramel. It’s such a powerful scent, in fact, that I literally caught a whiff immediately after opening the bottle.

And now the main event. This is a “Double Black India Pale Ale”. Now, full disclosure…I LOOOOVE Black IPAs. They’re probably my favorite. So excuse my gushing, but this shiz is fantastic. Honestly, it’s tough for me to describe. The tastes are surprisingly hard to pin down. There’s a strong but delicate sweetness to it at the front, and it definitely finishes quite bitter. But in between all of that, there are a bunch of things going on that I can’t quite pinpoint. There are definitely some caramel notes. What is that spice? Coriander?! And a little bit of orange peel? And when I swish it around a little, I even get some hints of butter. Crazy.

All in all, I’m doing a terrible job of describing this spectacular beer. But just know that it’s spectacular. I think it’s the best Black IPA I’ve ever had. So if you ever run across any Clown Shoes products, do yourself a favor and grab several bottles. Your taste buds will thank you, I promise.

Until next time, kids.

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The Pimm’s of Summer

Sorry for the notable absence from this here blog lately. I’ve been both working hard and enjoying the hell out of this summer we’re having down here in the South. Last night ended with a pretty amazing sunset swim in the ocean. In case you were wondering, yes, it’s pretty damn sweet living here.

ANYwho…speaking of summer, in my opinion, no summer is complete without a damn good Pimm’s Cup. And I think I’ve whipped up about the perfect one. So instead of rambling on here, I’m just going to get to it.

Perfect Pimm's CupPerfect Pimm’s Cup

*2 parts Pimm’s No. 1
*1/2 part gin (Hendrick’s, naturally)

*1/2 part brown sugar simple syrup
*Cucumber slices
*Lemon slices
*Dash of aromatic bitters
*2 parts ginger beer (Goya ginger beer is AWESOME)
*1 part seltzer

First off, for the brown sugar simple syrup, take equal parts dark brown sugar and water, and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Easy as pie.

Once you’ve made your syrup, slice up some cucumber and lemon and muddle. Then toss the Pimm’s, gin, simple syrup, muddled cucumber & lemon, and bitters together in a shaker with some ice.

Pimm's in Shaker

Shake that all up and pour into your favorite large-ish glass. Add the ginger beer and seltzer. And believe me when I say that Goya brand ginger beer is something special. It’s super spicy and entirely delicious.

Finally, make a few more cucumber and lemon slices, toss them into the glass, and give it a quick stir.

Now, most importantly, drink up! We had some on the beach last evening, and boy did they go down easy. It’s really the perfect summer beverage.

More soon, folks. Enjoy the weather!

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Beer, Part 5

Okay, okay. I know I’ve been woefully absent from this blog lately. There was a lot of traveling and a lot of wedding planning involved, so I’m choosing to feel justified in my abandonment.

I also know that it’s entirely past Craft Beer Week at this point, but my beer reviews during said week seemed to go over well, so I’m going right back to that wheelhouse with another stellar review.

This is Cascara Quad. It’s from the Lips of Faith series, courtesy of New Belgium Brewing (of Fat Tire fame, in case you’ve been living under a beerless rock for the last 10 years).

Lips of Faith Cascara

As you can tell from the name, it’s an quad ale in the trappist style, and at 10% ABV, it certainly packs a punch. I assumed this would be right up my alley, given the date and coffee cherries involved in the brewing process. I was rather giddy with anticipation over cracking this open. But all in all, I have to say, I’m a little underwhelmed.

The nose is unmistakably cherry. It overpowers everything else, which is not bad…it actually made me even more excited to guzzle/savor it. But the actual taste is a little unexciting. It’s not terrible. In fact, it’s pretty damn good. It’s just not spectacular. And after sampling some of the best that Dogfish Head, Rogue and Clown Shoes had to offer, it’s just not living up.

It has notes of cherry and date and even some tobacco in there, I think. Which is grand, and all. But the bitterness – trust me, I’m a big fan of bitter beers – is a little unsettling. Which definitely makes the aftertaste, well, a little gross.

To boil it all down, I just don’t think anything pops here. It’s a bit muddled. Besides the intense cherry nose, nothing really stands out. And I’m all for subtlety, but when an attempt at subtlety leads to something being less than spectacular, I’d say a mistake has been made.

Anyway, you can’t win ’em all. I promise I’ll be back next week with some more glorious beer reviews and probably some recipes too. Until then folks, Happy Friday. And Happy Birthday Mom!! 🙂

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