Last winter I reviewed my first, and what I assumed with staunch conviction would be my last, beer from Clown Shoes out of Ipswich, Massachusetts. It was a bottle of the uninteresting and flavor deficient Galactica IPA. Recently my friend Adam who lives in Ipswich expressed surprise that I upheld so much condemnation for Clown Shoes. He disputed my opinion of Galactica.
“I think you might be underrating it. Also, I think you should try their ‘Space Cake’ at some point.”
“I think someone like Hannibal Lecter sawed off the top of your skull, removed your brain, and replaced it with a fistful of feces. Clown Shoes doesn’t make good beer.”
“Trust me. Give it a shot.”
And then it dawned on me: if I drank it and disliked it as I predicted, I could have the opportunity to slander Adam across a beer review, because he really is a dickhead, and I want to smash his yarbles. He is a crotchety, cantankerous, sociopathic prick who detests everything. At this point in his life he probably is physically incapable of smiling as the particular cheek muscles in his round face which are required to produce a grin have atrophied down to tiny strands of dead tissue after 40 years or so of zero usage. After bringing this brew home, popping off the cap, and pouring it into my IPA glass I grinned with malicious glee in anticipation that my expectations of its inadequacy would be met, and I could commence penning a sizzling character assassination of that dipshit Adam, his family, his friends and his pets. But… son of a bitch… he was right to recommend this beer. Because of Adam I thoroughly enjoyed consuming a beer that I wouldn’t have otherwise considered. Can you believe the nerve of that inconsiderate asshole? He was right, I was wrong, and therefore I shan’t utter a solitary negative word about him today.
This beer pours a deep, murky orange. The head resembles vanilla gelato; it almost looks like the head of a nitro beer. It’s gorgeous. Next up at bat to my criticism pitch is the aroma, and it also hits a home run with citrus, malt, vanilla, and sugar. The flavor does the aroma justice and beyond, with only two weaknesses: it is not quite as intense as it should be and the bitterness that gives imperial IPA’s their signature kick is muted. Flawless beers are rare, so Space Cake can be forgiven for these imperfections. The upfront taste contains caramel, vanilla, malt, and a splash of citrus fruits, melons and pine. It finishes with a lemon cake flavor and a dull bitterness, and segues into an aftertaste of sweet vanilla, orange cream, and toffee while holding on to that small scrap of piney bitterness. The soft and thick texture is as good as it gets for an imperial IPA, and IPA’s dominate the industry with their creamy, silky mouthfeel. The glass is left decorated by a frothy web of lacing stretched around its walls. Bravo, Clown Shoes. You have created a fine and memorable contender.
I am humble enough to admit I can be incorrect about the beer industry from time to time (approximately once every decade). And alas, here I perch at my computer keyboard, with white knuckles and gnashing teeth, providing a glowing review of “Space Cake” by Clown Shoes, disgruntled and swallowing my pride like it’s Bill Clinton’s slimy, hot load gliding past the tonsils of a White House intern. Space Cake is not perfect, but it is pretty damned delicious and well worth the purchase, for fuck’s sake. I’m glad I drank it, and would gladly drink it again, God damn it. Thank you, Adam… cocksucker.
IBU: 70 (my best guess)