When I heard that Clown Shoes Brewing Company was in legal trouble due to the name of one of their beers I wasn’t too shocked. This is a brewery that is infamous for giving its brews names like Muffin Top and Tramp Stamp, so I assumed the PC police took offense. It was surprising that the issue was with Vampire Slayer, their highly regarded imperial stout. This was a trademark issue, apparently another beverage company feels they are the only ones who can use “vampire” in their beer titles. You can read the whole story here. So Vampire Slayer became Undead Party Crasher, with the same recipe just a new name and label (including a special shout-out to trademark attorneys). With the explosion of craft breweries, I believe this is going to become a major issue. It is hard to create clever and unique beer names without stepping on someone else’s toes. It will be interesting to see if these lawsuits become commonplace. Clown Shoes Undead Party Crasher is an imperial stout brewed with dark malts, holy water (yes, holy water) and malt smoked locally with hickory and ash.
Clown Shoes Undead Party Crasher pours ink black with a mild light brown head. The smell is all dark malt, lots of chocolate with a little coffee and brown sugar. There is a touch of smoke, but it is pretty muted. The taste is pretty complex. The dark malts come in strong with flavors of black coffee, dark chocolate, and dark fruits like plum and dates. There isn’t much hop flavor, but just the right amount of bitterness to balance the malt sweetness. The alcohol and smokiness are both present in the flavor, but neither is overwhelming. The mouthfeel is medium to full, and the beer finishes with some malt sugar and a pleasant alcoholic burn. At 11% ABV this beer is a slow sipper, finishing a 22 oz bottle takes a little time (fortunately it is now sold in 12 oz bottles too). Clown Shoes Undead Party Crasher is very complex but drinkable, definitely one of the better beers I’ve tried from this brewery. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
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