Once a week my coworkers and I try to venture away from our cubicles, ledges, squatted offices, or upside down trashcan in a hallway work spaces. We desire to feel the sun on our faces and have the crippling humidity surround us like a giant insulated hamster ball. Yes, once a week we try and go out of the office for lunch. One of the main criteria for choosing a lunch location is it’s proximity to a Total Wine. There we are able to walk off our lunch by pacing the beer aisles picking up our favorite brews or what we hope will be our next favorite brew.
It was exactly this type of scenario that lead me to discover Clown Shoes and their Belgian-style Tripel Indian Pale Ale called ‘Muffin Top’. If you have ever been to a Total Wine or any beer store with a large wall of 750ml bottles you will undoubtedly know the agony a beer drinker feels when looking at shelf after shelf of these mysterious bottles. I love trying new beers so I always pick up a couple 750ml bottles during our weekly run but with our lunch break quickly coming to an end and a burrito the size of a puppy burning a hole into my colon I did not have the time to look over and inspect every bottle.
This is where the artistic side of my brain began to take over. As I am pacing down the aisle I decided that since my latest home brew was a Belgian Tripel I wanted to sample some new Tripels. Almost immediately my eye catches the name Muffin Top and I am intrigued. I pick up the bottle and see that the name of the brewery is Clown Shoes. Being a Washington D.C. native I was instantly reminded of Bryce Harper’s famous ‘That’s a clown question bro’ quote so now I was sold.
The image on the label was the next thing to catch my eye. The style of the design is not what I am accustomed to seeing on a beer label and along with the unique name really set it apart from its other 750ml neighbors. The style reminds me more of something (and I mean this with the utmost respect) I would see spray painted on the side of a 1970’s van. The detail of the image is also something to be admired. Everything from the Clown Shoes tattoo stretching across the shoulder blades of our muffin-topped man to the gentle way his muffin-topped companion holds her Clown Shoes beer bottle to the sandcastle Clown Shoes logo and tiny shovel leaning against it. When I see this much style and detail be put into a label I always have high hopes that same type of dedication will be put into the beer.
First some Fun Facts about Clown Shoes and their ‘Muffin Top’ beer:
- Clown Shoes might be the first beer created out of spite. To quote Gregg Berman “a group of us submitted the name to the Beer Advocate contest that resulted in The Wrath of Pecant. Our submission didn’t crack the top 5. This burned me up inside. While driving one day the epiphany came: I could make my own Clown Shoes beer.”
- Clown Shoes Beer mission: Our mission now is to produce beer without pretension while being free and a little crazy.
- Clown Shoes beer is brewed by Mercury Brewing Company out of Ipswich, MA.
- Muffin Top has “intense flavors, reminiscent of candied fruit“.
- I might of been onto something about that 70’s van design I mentioned earlier. Awesome….
Muffin Top definitely has the fruity flavor I’ve grown to enjoy in Belgian Tripels. The candied fruit flavor reminded me of something from my childhood. I want you to know that I mean this as a compliment but the fruity flavor reminded me of the syrup you get when you eat fruit from a can of Fruit Cocktail. As a kid we didn’t really eat a lot of fresh fruit. It was nearly always from a can and I loved the taste of that syrup. This beer brought back some of those memories and I found myself tipping the beer back in order to get every ounce much like I did to a bowl of fruit cocktail. Muffin Top also has a 10% ABV yet does not have that high alcohol taste that sometimes accompanies beers with higher than the “normal” 4.5-5% ABV. I didn’t have that “Wowza this has a lot of alcohol in it” reaction. Instead it was more of a “Wowza, I should of bought more than one bottle of this!” reaction.
If you find yourself wandering the 750ml wall, what I am now dubbing my Wall of Happiness, keep an eye out for a chubby couple walking hand in hand on the beach enjoying the sunset in the distance. If you do see this them do yourself a favor and pick up a couple bottles. Hopefully someone will notice your beer selection and ask you, “What kind of beer is that?”.