Turn it Up to 11!

On the docket:  22 oz.  Clown Shoes/Schmaltz Brewing Collaboration:  Shoebelation

Poured into:  Evil Twin stemmed craft glassShoebelation_My_Blog

S:  A deep honey-brown body sporting crimson highlights.  The head wells up in a mocha cap with good staying power (exact bottle date unknown, but on the fresher side).  Lacing left behind is leggy and thorough.  The head eventually resides into a small outer ring and an island in the center of the glass.  Opaque, no bubbles observed.

A:  Complex aroma of vanilla, caramel, coconut and molasses.  Only a slight suggestion of piney hops.  Malty and sweet.

T:  Wow.  Lots of moving parts here.  Caramel candy sweetness, molasses, barrel contributions, hoppy bitterness on the end.  The breweries picked Wild Turkey bourbon barrels, and aged the blended beer for 2 months (info courtesy of quick internet fact-finding).  This is two different beers:  Billionaire, Clown Shoes’ English Barleywine, and Jewbelation Eleven, Schmaltz’s American Strong Ale.  I’ve tasted both separately, but long ago (and remember enjoying both).

F:  Full, rich, decadent.  Starts sweet but finishes with a lingering bitterness that makes you go back to the beginning with another sip.

O:  Typically collaborations end up less than the sum of their parts, but I feel this one did pretty well.  I’ll admit I’m a bit biased.  It’s got “Shoe” in the name of the beer.  Considering the amp and guitar on the label, is it really a coincidence they turned the abv up to 11(%)?  They needed that extra push over the cliff.

Suggested food pairing:  As an after-dinner drink, creamy bleu-cheese, beef stew, bread pudding, rock-mockumentaries

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A Tyrant of a Brew: Clown Shoes’ Rexx

On the docket:  22 oz.  Clown Shoes’ Rexx Imperial Red Ale aged in Bourbon Barrels

Poured into:  Libbey Belgian stemmed-tulip

S:  A bold and ferric red body supports a tightly clinging beige head of foam.  Opaque with an almost purple highlight at the bottom.  Bubbles soar to the top, and lacing already clings in regular but thin rings.

A:  This king of a brew roars with spice and vanilla at the forefront, plus a trickle of higher alcohols and wood.  The bourbon aroma is quite dominant.  The hops seem to have retreated into the underbrush.

T:  The barrels are certainly present (Heaven Hill and Four Roses) in the initial taste, but not so heavy that the beer is petrified.  Notes of molasses, caramel, tangy spice from the rye, plus balancing hop bitterness comprises the full experience.  The full clade of flavors and the IBU are more apparent as the beer warms up a bit.

F:  Thick (I’d say medium +), full, oily.  Decent carbonation, just enough to scrub your mouth and cause you to go back for more.

O:  Disclaimer-  I’m hit or miss with BBA style beers, regardless of base style.  However, I truly enjoyed this one, and come on- who doesn’t like dinosaurs?  Grab this one while it’s still around, lest it go extinct.  When it comes to Clown Shoes, I “spare no expense.”  Bonus points for recognizing that reference.

S:  3.75  A:  4  T:  4.25  F:  3.75  O:  4

Suggested food pairing:  by itself, gamey meat such as venison, smoked cold cuts, earthy cheese, red velvet cakes or cupcakes, carrot cake