Review #79 – Clown Shoes American Monastic Belgian IPA 85/100
Picked this bottle up on a whim from a local bottle shop, putting my faith in the usual high quality of Clown Shoes Brewery of Massachusetts. The beer is brewed with 7 different hop strains with some added to the boil and some used in dry hopping, the beer blew me away, the complexity of the hop aromas and flavour was staggering, the alpha bitterness was at a very peasant yet punchy level. Sometimes I find IPAs can either have a coma inducing level of hop bitterness or the hop aroma and flavour profile can be generally lacklustre, certainly not the case with this one.
Out of the bottle and into the glass, this IPA pours a vibrant honey colour with what looks like a medium to high level of carbonation producing a light, white, lively head about one finger in depth.
On the nose the beer produces a fantastic aroma profile, big tropical fruit notes are apparent straight away with lots of pineapple, passionfruit, mango and starfruit. A lot of sweet flavours are present such as pear drops, bubblegum, custard cream biscuits and caramel, these aromas are followed up with a nice level of herbs and spice, there is some coriander in there, fennel, clove and cinnamon. Delving deeper into the aromas there is a slight funk, almost like a mild cheese such a Gouda.
The palate delivers much of what the nose served up, carbonation is moderately high, not overbearing and quite pleasant. The malt flavour is first up, sweet caramel and biscuit flavours with a touch of sourdough bread. Bursting through the robust doughy flavours of the malt comes buckets of massive tropical fruit flavours – plenty of pineapple, mango, lychee and custard apple with notes of citrus fruits and lemongrass. The more subtle flavours which come out towards the finish are that of sweet dill pickles, bubblegum and tarragon. The finish is long, dry yet mouthwateringly moreish with a long citrusy linger.
I’ve seen a few people saying that this is a pretty average example of an American Belgian IPA, I beg to differ, in my opinion is is genuinely one of the best beers from this style, it’s so well balanced and a pleasure to drink.