Clown Shoes is a relatively new brewery that brews out of Ipswich, Massachusett’s Mercury Brewing Co. The beer they have made so far has been adventurous, inventive and well received. One of their trademarks is their interesting beer names and even more interesting labels. Crunkle Sam is an American Style Barleywine Ale brewed to 11% ABV and dry hopped with Chinook hops.
Pouring our a dark amber with coppery hues in the body a dark yellowish head fizzles on top. The head dissipates almost instantly leaving a thin layer of bubbles clinging to the glass. At first the aroma is straight forward with caramel and toffee malts and a mild citrus hop note. A further look shows subtle notes of floral and spicy hop aromas and pine resin notes. The first sip is sweet and caramel heavy with toffee and nutty notes forming together. Fruity flavours of apple or pear and citrus zest form the mid palate. The hops are present with big zesty citrus notes and spicy flavours. The finish is heavy with grapefruit and resinous notes before ending with moderate astringency and lingering citrus bitterness. Heavy alcohol is present but mostly subdued by a great combination of citrus and caramel malts. A nice brew with a big profile despite a flat body and slightly watery mouthfeel. One problem I have with Barleywine’s is that they often end up tasting like really malty Double IPA’s. Crunkle Sam surely falls in a pseudo category but it doesn’t matter much if it tastes this delicious.