The website RateBeer.com put out their annual list of the best breweries in the world at the end of January (see the full list HERE). This list is compiled based on the scores given to individual beers by their website users and weighted by a whole bunch of factors that I don’t care to learn. I take all of these types of ratings with a gigantic grain of salt, I’ve written at length about how many of the users on these websites overrate hard to find beers and particular beer styles. Regardless, I couldn’t help scrolling through the list and checking out which local breweries were honored. Most of the breweries from New England were predictable, The Alchemist, Hill Farmstead, Lawson’s Finest Liquids, Allagash, Maine Beer Company, Smuttynose, Treehouse, Trillium and Jack’s Abby are all on many of these “best” or “favorites” lists locally and nationally. The one name that caught me a bit by surprise was Clown Shoes brewing company in Ipswich. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed a number of Clown Shoes beers, in particular they make some boozy and flavorful imperial stouts. I think part of my issue with Clown Shoes are some of their beer names, particularly early releases like Muffin Top, Tramp Stamp and Lubrication. I find that some breweries who resort to suggestive or borderline offensive names as a way to sell beer do it because the product alone is subpar (I know that isn’t always true). It is possible that I’ve underrated Clown Shoes a bit and need to try some more of their beers, so I’ll try to knock out a few reviews over the coming months. Clown Shoes 5th anniversary beer is a Belgian style quadruple aged in bourbon barrels named The Peace That Money Can’t Buy. A long name like this seems appropriate for a big beer. The Peace That Money Can’t Buy is available for a limited time in 22 oz. bombers.
Clown Shoes The Peace That Money Can’t Buy pours a deep amber with a solid off-white head. The scent is mild but complex, some dark malts, fruity esters from the yeast and a little bit of bourbon. The yeast comes through stronger in the flavor, notes of tart cherry, sour apple, pear and pepper. This is complemented by bold malty flavors, notes of fig, date, brown bread, toffee and plum. The barrel aging adds some subtle oak and whiskey notes but takes a back seat to the malt and yeast. The beer is very full bodied and clearly a slow sipper at 11.5% ABV, but the booze doesn’t come through too strongly in the flavor. This beer is nicely done, tons of flavor without being overkill. For a brewery that has built it’s reputation with bold to the point of brazen beers, it is nice to see a little restraint here. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.
Previous Clown Shoes Reviews: