Ipswich, Mass., is now a beer-making center, thanks to the folks at Clown Shoes Beer. On a recent visit to Bert's Better Beers in Hooksett, I picked up a selection that I wanted to share with you.
They have quite a variety, ranging from the light and hoppy to the dark and malty — in other words there's something for everybody. This is a great lineup of beers, and I hope you will give them a try.
Let's get right to it:Clown Shoes Clementine White Ale, 6% alcohol by volume, $2.75. Gold beer under a creamy/frothy large head. This one is all hops with fruit, citrus, lemon, as well as pine herbal and spice notes.
Dry, with medium-plus bitterness and medium acidity, alcohol and texture. The flavor keeps the hops but adds in a little malt as well as the fruit and spice. Very good.
Clown Shoes Hoppy Feet, 7% AVB, $3.15. This is a "Black India Pale Ale," according to the label, with a large and head sitting on top of black beer. The nose leans heavily toward malt, with bread, molasses, caramel, coffee and toast notes. There is a little bit of citrus from the hops in the background.
It is dry with medium bitterness, acidity, carbonation, and alcohol that is well integrated. Full-bodied. Medium-plus flavor intensity that predominates with malt. A very long finish.
Clown Shoes Brown Angel Double Brown Ale, 7% AVB, $10.35 (1 pint bottle). A large, frothy head, this time over beer that is a little lighter than the one above, brown and black. High malt intensity on the nose with chocolate, coffee, espresso and bread. Also dry on the palate, with medium bitterness, acidity and alcohol. The alcohol is well-integrated. Medium texture and a flavor profile where the mulch again predominates.
Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp The Belgian Style India Pale Ale, 7% ABV, $3.15. (Hey, I don't make up the names). A frothy off white head over and amber beer with the rich nose of hops bringing citrus, orange blossom, pine and resin notes. This one is also dry, with medium-plus bitterness from the hops, medium alcohol and body. The flavor profile is again very hoppy, with excellent bitterness to the end.
Clown Shoes Muffin Top Belgian Style Tripel India Pale Ale, 10.5% ABV, $10.35, 1 pint bottle. Also in the Belgian ballpark with a frothy head over amber beer. Low malts, higher hops with citrus, lemon and floral notes. This one also has a dry palate, with medium acidity medium-plus bitterness and alcohol (a little warm), silky texture and good flavor intensity that reflects the nose.
Jim Beauregard is a local beer and wine writer who can be reached at email@example.com.