Beer Review 0257: Clown Shoes Third Party Candidate Amber Ale

It’s Election Day here in the United States, and no, this website will not be getting political. Instead, we’re going to review an election inspired beer and encourage you to go vote. Then, come home and have a beer as the returns come in.

For this beer, Clown Shoes, which is contract brewed by Mercury Brewing Company out of Ipswich, Massachusetts, collaborated with Three Heads Brewing, located in Rochester, New York. Representatives from both breweries hung out earlier this year, and the idea for Third Party Candidate, an Imperial Amber Ale, was born.

In fact, it was also decided that Geoff Dale, the CEO of Three Heads, would be tapped to run for President. Both breweries are encouraging write-in votes for Mr. Dale, and that’s him pictured on the bottle. The third party he’s running under is called the “D-Bag Party.” You pick what the ‘D’ stands for.

Getting down to the beer, this is actually a blend of a Clown Shoes beer called Eagle Claw Fist, which is an Imperial Amber Ale, and Three Head’s Loopy Oatmeal Red Ale. The blend is an even 50-50 split. I can’t find any information about the Loopy Oatmeal, but the Eagle Claw Fist is brewed with Simcoe, Centennial, and Citra hops, and it is 8% ABV (alcohol by volume). When blended with Loopy Oatmeal, Third Party Candidate finishes out to be 10% ABV.

As the tagline says, “Ask not what your country can brew for you. Ask what you can brew for your country.”

On the pour, Third Party Candidate gave an average sized head, soapy and lasting atop a perfectly amber/reddish beer. Seriously, the color couldn’t have been nailed any better, and this was a beautiful liquid in the glass. The body was clear at first pour, but as I got further into the bottle, there was some yeast at the bottom that turned the beer cloudy toward the end of the drink. There were no particles or sediment, despite the small amount of yeast. Lacing was good from the start of the head diminishing, leaving behind thin sheets that resembled weepy alcohol legs.

The aromatics offered a beer that smelled much like a big and chewy Imperial IPA, not an Amber Ale. This beer had a huge hop profile that was yummy — big notes of pine and resin coupled with an assortment of juicy fruits; grapefruit, peaches, and then a hint of garlic. Ever cut the end of a clove of garlic and pressed it to your tongue? Your sinus gets a hot garlic hit — this beer reminded me of that. Try it if you haven’t…it’s a unique flavor that might surprise you. The malt base was light and sweet, giving way to some bready aromas, sweet caramel, and a general roasted note.

Putting beer to palate delivered some soft fruity hops up front, followed by a brisk hit of pine that ushers in some moderate bitterness. The middle of the taste presents rich caramel, a touch of bread and leads to a finish that rips another wave of pleasant bitter, and a slow alcohol warmth. I thought the texture of this beer was rewarded with the half blend of the Oatmeal Red Ale — it’s not exactly creamy; moreso foamy, but there’s a smoothness that couples with the brisk hop profile that creates a winner.

Is this an Imperial Amber Ale or an Imperial IPA? Honestly, I lean more toward the IPA side, but I don’t exactly rate beer 100% according to style, either. This is a good beer, one that you could sip over an evening and totally enjoy. That being said, it is my least favorite Clown Shoes brew to date, and I’ve rated their beers very high so far.

I have to give them credit for making an Election Day beer. GO VOTE!

Clown Shoes Third Party Candidate Amber Ale, 89 points. Price: $9.99 US for one 22 oz. bomber size bottle.

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