Beer Review: Clown Shoes Muffin Top
The first thing to note about Clown Shoes Muffin Top is that there is no cause for concern: no muffin tops were harmed in the production of this label. It says so in a disclaimer on the bottle label.
But, uh, why the concern over muffins and their welfare?
The disclaimer is a tongue-in-cheek retort to Beer Advocate events director, Candice Alström, who stirred up a bit controversy last July (it made the in the local news in Boston) when she blogged that Clown Shoes beers, labels and names are “gross,” “tacky,” “dumb,” and “average at best.” In response, Clown Shoes added the disclaimer to Muffin Top’s (relatively benign) label, which was released publicly a few weeks after the debate got started.
So, is this beer from the Ipswitch, MA-based brewery gross, tacky, dumb or average? Not even a little bit. First off, the Belgian-style Tripel India Pale Ale is exceedingly well-balanced. Intentionally contrasting with the the laborious (self-titled) name of the style, the beer is straightforward and tasty without being complicated or fussy.
Muffin Top pours an opaque gold, with a clean ivory head of textbook foaminess. Aroma is of caramel, sweet malt, sweet citrus and candied sugars. The 10% ABV shines though in the nose.
The medium-bodied liquid has a mouthfeel that clings to the roof of the mouth and lingers with an alcoholic warmth after the swallow, which may be attributed to white pepper in the flavor. The taste of the heavily-hopped ale fermented with Belgian yeast can best be described as orange biscuit, much like, perhaps, an orange muffin. The hops are used primarily for flavor, as the hoppiness carries only a mild bitterness.
The overall impression is that of a clean, versatile and slightly tart/slightly sweet beer that will pair well with dishes both savory and sweet. We recommend trying it with duck; turkey; peach cobbler or coconut, vanilla or tangerine sorbet. A salad made of frisee, walnuts, mandarin oranges and goat cheese was the perfect match for a glass of the brew.
Clown Shoes regularly distributes to Massachussets, Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, Illinois and Texas, but are always looking for new markets, so if you're itching to have them in your region, just let them know.
Photo via Clown Shoes Beer on Facebook
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