^
Keep New Times Free
4

Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp

Beer: Tramp Stamp
Brewery: Clown Shoes
Style: Belgian IPA
ABV: 7 percent

"Tattoo on the lower back? Might as well be a bullseye." - Jeremy Grey, Wedding Crashers

Another newbie to the Arizona desert, Clown Shoes is actually contract brewed through Mercury Brewing Company in Ipswich, Mass. They are their own separate brand, but have no capacity to brew beer yet. It's a funny way to start a brewery, but not unheard of.

Clown Shoes CEO Gregg Berman wrote that he decided to start brewing after entering a contest held by the beer review website beeradvocate.com to name a collaboration brew. His submission didn't even crack the top 5. Motivated by the small failure, Berman created the Clown Shoes brand with the mission to "produce beer without pretension while being free and a little crazy."

The inclination toward silliness has led Clown Shoes to take their beer label design in a direction some might find controversial (e.g. the dark-skinned, bikini-clad woman shaking her righteous ass on the Brown Angel label, or Lubrication, which features a metallic man holding the business end of a gas pump right about dong-level.) The labels started a bit of shenanigans online a few months ago after they raised the ire of some influential people in the beer community.

Like the tattoos it's named for, Tramp Stamp is oddly alluring -- pour it into a tulip and prepare to be not-so-subtly seduced by the slightly hazy, rusty honey-colored brew. Topped with a large head of khaki, the beer's a looker.

The aroma is equally captivating. Pungent American hops --Columbus, Amarillo, and Centennial in particular -- lend notes of pine and citrus that blend with bright orange peel. Belgian Chambly yeast adds a subtle fruity pear note that blends perfectly with the citrus and contrasts the background of lightly toasted biscuits glazed with honey. This is how a Belgian IPA should smell.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

In the flavor, the substantial bitterness of pithy citrus peel gives way to crisp cracker malt. The Belgian yeast, fairly light in the aroma, lends an even softer touch here, but pops up a bit amidst the fumes that dance in the mouth between sips. Some floral, potpourri-like notes shake their hips in the background before the dry, clean finish turns off the music.

Clown Shoes did a great job parsing out the flavors in this Belgian-tinged IPA. It's easy to let a product's "controversial" branding affect your judgment, but clearer heads can look past the marketing. Immature names and labels should not offend; bad beer should. What's inside the bottle is much more important than what's on it -- and in that regard, Clown Shoes has nothing to worry about. 

Zach Fowle is a Certified Cicerone, a recognized expert in the world of beer. 

Follow Chow Bella on Facebook and Twitter

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.