Beer Review 0286: Clown Shoes Pimp Double Brown Ale

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One of the more recent Clown Shoes beers I reviewed was a collaboration — Third Party Candidate Amber Ale, which received 89 points. The one I have for today, Pimp Brown Ale, is also a teamwork effort, this time with Brash Brewing Company.

Okay, stick with me here for a moment, because this could get a little confusing. Clown Shoes is contract brewed by Mercury Brewing Company, located in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Brash Brewing Company is also contract brewed by Mercury — and the reason is because the brand owner, Ben Fullelove, also owns a craft beer bar in Houston, Texas. According to the alcoholic beverage code in the Lonestar State, you can’t own a bar and brewery at the same time — and one of Mr. Fullelove’s dreams was to open a brewery by the time he hit age 40. So, he had some recipes, and Clown Shoes owner Gregg Berman gave Fullelove the chance to join him at Mercury.

A great pairing could only result, right? Yeah, it was only a matter of time. For this collaborative brew, Fullelove devised a double batch of a Belgian brown ale, and Clown Shoes contributed a double batch of one of its regular production brews, Brown Angel. The result is a 10% ABV (alcohol by volume) double-double brown ale, and they’re calling it Pimp.

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The pour issued up a dark reddish-brown beer, completed by an average size head, soapy and lasting. The color of the beer was like murky river water, and although this looked pretty cloudy, I didn’t see any significant particles or sediment in the liquid. The lacing left behind a nice, thin, even coat of tan film.

On the nose, a heavy malt presence was detected, which was to be anticipated with 10% ABV. And although this brew is big alcohol, it isn’t prevalent on the nose; in fact, it is expertly hidden. What isn’t hidden is the mass amount of milk chocolate, caramel, and toffee. Believe it or not, this isn’t as pungent as I thought it might be, however, that gets better as the beer warms, and more of a roasted character develops.

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Tasting, the first thing that jumped out on my palate was dark fruit, specifically a grape. But this doesn’t last long, and Pimp morphs into a chocolate bomb, delivering note after note of creamy milk chocolate until it comes awash with caramel. This beer is very creamy, and it also attacks the sinus with an alcohol hit early. And while you can feel the alcohol, you never really get a hardcore taste of it, save for a bit on the finish. The final notes of Pimp ring out with sweet coffee, a hint of the Belgian yeast, and a metric ton of silky milk chocolate. Bring on just the right amount of bitterness and even darker, richer malt, and you’ve got a good balance.

For a big beer, this is dangerously drinkable and delectably smooth. Brown ales tend to be boring, safe beers; this one successfully pushes the style to the next level. At times, I thought I was sipping on chocolate milk which morphs itself into fresh roasted black coffee. Dial the ABV down a point or two and you might have the perfect brown ale. Still, this is a winner, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Clown Shoes Pimp Double Brown Ale, 91 points. Price: $8.99 US for one 22 oz. bomber size bottle.

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