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Tramp Stamp

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Tramp Stamp is a Belgian-style IPA from Clown Shoes which brews out of Ipswich Massachusetts.  In recent months I started noticing bottles from Clown Shoes on the shelves of the shops I frequent.  Clown Shoes is not an expensive beer and having a variety available is a good thing as I’ve now had about four or five different beers from them and I don’t have a bad thing to say about what I’ve tasted.  Sometime last year  I reviewed Hoppy Feet 1.5, a Double Black IPA I got in a trade and was released to commemorate their One Year Anniversary.  I gave Hoppy Feet 1.5, Five out of Five Beer Caps as I really loved the beer; check out the post here.  I think of Clown Shoes as a fun brewery especially with the clever names they come up for their beers like Muffin Top, Chocolate Sombrero, and Tramp Stamp.

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The aroma of this beer is a mix of orange peel and ripe peaches, very summerlike and refreshing and with the biscuit and yeast funk present, it stays true to it’s Belgian roots.  Much of what is in the aroma can be tasted, like the orange peel and peaches with a hop bitterness up front and just enough malt to round the sip.  This beer is really delicious, it has the body of a wheat ale and is extremely refreshing.  Tramp Stamp has a bubbly tangy mouthfeel from the carbonation and you’ll get a smooth bitter finish after it washes down.  I enjoyed drinking this beer and it’s too bad it comes in a four pack instead of six.  These cute four packs really drive me nuts and it’s become a standard of so many breweries; just make a six pack and make me pay for six bottles, cut the cute packaging.  I know I can’t be the only one who’s had this thought right? 

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Tramp Stamp is good, refreshing, and has great flavors, I recommend you pick some up before you head out back to start grilling this weekend.  Three out of Five Beer Caps for the Tramp!

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Throw one back for me ~ cheers!

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2013 in Empty Bottles

 

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Furious IPA

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The love affair I’ve had for years with IPA’s continues and today I’m reviewing yet another. I drink all sorts of styles, but I can’t seem to get away from IPA’s. When I get to the bar, an IPA is what I look for on a tap list and even look for them when I go beer shopping, it really is a favorite style of mine. Years ago, when I first got into this craft beer thing, I received a package from Michigan that my bud Steve sent me and it contained a few bottles of Hopslam by Bell’s Brewing. Even though Hopslam is a Double IPA, it was very drinkable for my novice palate and made me realize how beer can be complex and have great flavor like you’ve never experienced during your yellow piss water days.  Here’s the reason for all the talk about my love for IPA’s in case you haven’t figured it out by the title or pictures, I’m reviewing Furious IPA by Surly Brewing.

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Surly Brewing is one of many breweries that can their beer and in recent years, some of the newer breweries are opting for this method to store their suds; this is a great idea I approve of simply for the recycling factor.  Furious IPA is an American style IPA with an aroma of hops, malt, citrus and surprisingly alcohol, surprising because it comes in only at 6.2% ABV; aroma unmistakably of an IPA. Furious pours a nice dark copper color and has a medium body with medium carbonation. You’ll experience a smooth and delicious flavor for this non-aggressive IPA, but still very hop forward and bitter. The malt in this IPA nicely rounds the sip with those sweet toasted notes and will have a dry citric finish.

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In the past few months I’ve had the ability to purchase beers from Surly Brewing, sadly it doesn’t ship to California, but luckily a local spot has the hook up for their beers.  I’ve had a chance to drink Bitter Brewer, Bender, Coffee Bender, Overrated West Coast IPA, and Furious IPA, a few from their line-up and based on what I’ve had so far, Surly Brewing makes great tasting beers.  I wish I’d bought more of the Furious IPA as this one is up there with the rest of the Four Beer Cap IPA’s I’ve had; pick one up or any of the ones I mentioned above.

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Throw one back for me ~ cheers!

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2013 in Empty Bottles

 

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The Falcon IPA

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My first visit to Beachwood BBQ in Long Beach was over two years ago, my wife Alicia, took me there for lunch on my birthday; they also have a location in Seal Beach. I don’t recall specifically what I had that day, but I know it was a pulled pork sandwich and a few good brews. I was in Long Beach in recent days having lunch with family just down the street from Beachwood BBQ, and I thought it would be good to go pick up some beer. I was in the mood for an IPA and got a chance to sample two of them, the Melrose, labeled a West Coast IPA and The Falcon, an American IPA; both were delicious, but I filled my growler with The Falcon IPA.

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I poured myself some of the beer the next day in one of my new IPA glassware, the beer had a nice amber color. The aroma of The Falcon IPA had sweet notes of malt and bright floral citrus notes, but the pungent hop aroma dominates. The sip is very refreshing, it’s a hop bomb! Low carbonation with a small amount of malt sweetness up front and it’s all hop from there. Citrus, pine, and tropical fruits mix nicely to create an intense hop flavor while a bitter citric rind aftertaste will remain after the wash.

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I really enjoyed drinking this beer and it’s too bad that I don’t live near Beachwood BBQ as I know I’d be there frequently, eating and drinking. I’ve been thinking of going back very soon to have a meal there and to fill my growler with more delicious beers. If you’re in the area, cheek them and out and get a pint of The Falcon, it was 4 out 5 Beer Caps delicious!

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Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Empty Bottles

 

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Corne Du Diable

I purchased a six-pack of this while I was in Vancouver and when I was asked to show my ID, the checkout guy said, “you’ve come a long way to buy a beer from a place that’s far from here.” I bought the six-pack of beer because I liked the artwork on it and because it was an IPA, but had no idea that Brasserie Dieu du Ciel is brewed in Montreal, Canada.  When I drank the first bottle, I didn’t think much of it as I was expecting the hop bomb flavor, but this was completely opposite of it and I was faulting it because of it, but after each bottle I drank, it grew on me and I learned to appreciate the different flavor profile.

The aroma of this beer is unlike any IPA I’ve had.  Malt and spices are there with just enough hops.  Corne due Diable had a very nice malt backbone flavor with a hint of caramel sweetness and spices that reminded me of Thanksgiving.  There was a spice in it that I couldn’t discern; a spicy pepper like flavor, it could’ve been clove, cinnamon, or nutmeg and after each sip of the last beer I drank, this is what won me.  The hop was mild, but present and it wasn’t a citrus or piney flavor.

It’s a Canadian style IPA if you can call it that, not your typically aggressive west coast hop bombs I’ve come to love.  For this reason alone and for it being a novelty for my palate, I’m giving it 4 out of 5 beer caps.

Throw one back for me ~ cheers!

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Empty Bottles

 

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Hoppy Feet 1.5

Clown Shoes – Hoppy Feet 1.5

I got this beer in a trade after I sent a few bottles to the city of Chicago. It’s a very peculiar name for a brewery and I had to go online and read the reason for it and luckily, it was on their website and this is what it read… “Clown Shoes? Very long story, but to condense it a group of us submitted the name to the Beer Advocate contest that resulted in The Wrath of Pecant. Our submission didn’t crack the top 5. This burned me up inside. While driving one day the epiphany came: I could make my own Clown Shoes beer.

What’s with the odd brewery name and now a 1.5 in the beer name?! They might not have liked the first batch, upgraded the software, and the new release worked out a few bugs and worked. All joking aside, this was a good beer.

Turns out Hoppy Feet is available year round, but for their anniversary they decided to dry hop this beer twice and thus they present to you, Clown Shoes 1.5. This is a Double Black India Pale Ale with an aroma of malt, lots of hop, alcohol, and I caught a bit of roasted coffee. The beer was creamy, a really nice feel on the tongue. Almost all beers you find out there have a dominant flavor, but not with this beer. Each sip was very enjoyable as it gave me a balanced combination of hop and malt; I haven’t had this in a beer. You’ll find sweet notes of malt and toffee and will have a hop bitter finish.

This is a very solid beer and I’d say that it’s one of the best Black IPA’s I’ve had. Black anything seemed to be the thing that everyone was doing during 2011 in the beer world here in the States, it’s caught on and with this beer Clown Shoes has really nailed it. I had this beer with some chicken tika masala (a spicy tomato sauce); it was a good combination as the spiciness from the dish went really well with the malt/hop flavor in the beer. This is an IPA I truly enjoyed and will rate Five Beer Caps out of Five. I was surprised by the beer, especially when the label has a clown on it and I couldn’t take it seriously. I’ve done this before where I’ll skip the beer and won’t buy it based on the label, but lesson learned, again, don’t judge by the label or name! Sadly we don’t get any beers from Clown Shoes in the Los Angeles area and can only hope to get some more when and if I trade. Thanks RVD for sending this one my way.

Throw one back for me ~ cheers!

 

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Hopportunity Knocks

Caldera Brewing Co’s Hopportunity Knocks

I normally don’t pick up beers I’ve never heard of and there is a reason for it, good beer my friends… is not cheap. I average around $60 when I go shopping for beer, but I’ve spent as little as $20 on two to three bottles and on certain occasions as much as $100; this last figure is rare and it happens when I go shopping to replenish the beer cellar or when doing a trade. This time I thought I’d grab something I never heard of but not get something outrageous like a watermelon/lime infused flavored beer. I told myself to look for something I might like, and I went with an IPA. I find the label a bit cheesy but it works with the name and it’s not about the label, but rather it’s contents.

Hopportunity Knocks is a seasonal brew labeled as “Kettle Series ~ Small Batch” and their website reads that it’s only available in Oregon, which means someone smuggled this contraband out of the state. The aroma of the beer is of hop and malt, simple. The IPA has a very bright piney flavor and just like in the scent, it’s malty. The malt sweetness is present throughout the sip and the bitter hop notes are around, but they aren’t strong. When the beer got warm the malt takes over the hop although it’s still there, but the warmth makes a bit of orange flavor surface.

A few posts ago I mentioned that I’m interested in learning about the different hops used to brew beer, and one thing I “think” I learned, thanks to this beer, is the difference between a Centennial Hop and a Cascade Hop. I say think, because I’m sure there are other hops out there that might be similar to the ones I mentioned. The label states that it uses 100% Centennial Hops, because of this I was able to notice that the herb/pine aroma and flavor was missing the citrus notes, which are found in the popular and often used Cascade Hop. – for this – cheers to me!

I think that this beer could be one that can be introduced to those who don’t like very bitter beers; the malt sweetness helps cut through that. If you are out there and in need of exploring and waking your beer palates, then I recommend you pick this one up and move towards something new and away from the wheat beers. The IPA by Caldera Brewing is not a great one but not a bad one either; it’s an average tasting IPA and it merits no more than Three Beer Caps.

Throw one back for me – cheers!
Kalifornia

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2010 in Empty Bottles

 

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IPA by Southern Tier


I mentioned on a different post that I should review different beer styles and not stick with those I prefer, but here I go again describing an IPA. The beer from Southern Tier has been in the cellar for quite some time now, about 6 months, as I was saving it for the beer blog; I stored it more than I should have and the flavor suffered from it.

With this beer I enjoyed the always beautiful scent of the hops although faint, malt, alcohol, and bread (smelled like biscuits). This is only the second time I’ve smelled bread notes in a beer and I was excited; sadly the excitement ended there. The taste was not the same but I know I’m at fault for storing this beer for such a long time, for reasons I’ve explained above. The beer still had a hop flavor but it would not linger. The bitterness was there as it washed down and it left me with an aftertaste of a spice I could not discern; it was something pleasant. I left a good two sips of beer on the glass to sit at room temperature to see if any of the main flavors would surface, but I was only able to taste the malt and the alcohol became prevalent; the hops was gone and it was like a strong ale.

I’ve determined that the aroma of all IPA’s will be like an olfactory oasis if you like the style, just magical on the nose, but the proof is in the bouquet. I haven’t reviewed and IPA on CervezaPlease that I haven’t liked, but I’ve had my share at the bar that smell great, but the flavor is very one-dimensional. Describing IPA’s and any beer for that matter can be redundant, it’s the new spice or flavor I get to discern that makes reviewing and describing fun; instead of chugging it down, I’m looking for a trace of something I’ve never had in a beer.

I enjoyed the beer, I could tell it wasn’t a bad beer at all, but it was my fault for not drinking it sooner. I don’t do halves, but if I did it would be 2.5; I’ll round up to three caps, although I have a feeling this could be higher had I not let it age so long.

Next post, Bell’s Oberon; stick around!

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2010 in Empty Bottles

 

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