If the shoe fits
Clown Shoes Brewery is one that may not be familiar to many in England. Residing in Ipswich (not that one) in Massachusetts, USA, their beer has been seen to be innovative without pretension. Early on they were gaining quick recognition with their Black IPA “Hoppy Feet” and their White Ale “Clementine”, a refreshing ale consisting of Clementine, sweet orange peel, coriander and summit hops, designed to quench anyones thirst in the midday heat of the north eastern sun. Since then, their beers have gone on to receive overall scores of 90 and above on ratebeer.
Their rise in the ale kingdom came as quite a surprise to the guys behind the beer. Originating out of a shop and wine distribution company owned by Gregg Berman, Jesse Dooley began expanding the craft beer selection in the store. It wasn’t too long before Berman was hooked and looked into additionally distributing beer. However, no one would work with the guys, so they began talking about the idea of making their own beer and then it clicked, they already had a distribution company, so they could make and sell their own creations.
Working with head brewer Dan Lipke at Mercury Brewing Company, Gregg and Jesse were able to create the beer they imagined, with Dan’s help and input. Before you even drink the beer you’re intrigue is gripped. Their names and designs stand out from a lot of other beers. Some of our favourites are “Undead Party Crasher”, “Tramp Stamp” and “Exorcism at Sunset“ just to name a few. Berman takes credit for all these names that could easily be a metal band’s name or a scifi book from the 70’s. However with such vivid labels, they’ll always attract unwanted attention.
Back in 2011, they ran into some trouble with the Director of Special Events for Beer Advocate, Candice Alström. Alström questioned the use of the ‘Brown Angel’ label, in which a dark skinned angel is squatting to highlight her toned body. The next in their series was ‘Tramp Stamp’, which saw little attention.
However, with their release of their ABA called ‘Lubrication’, in which a robot holds a pump handle around the area that would be its groin, while pictured at a gas station. Alström again did not take kindly to this and even went to the lengths of posting a thread named “Done with Clownshoes” (now removed), this lead mostly to the discussion whether Alström had in fact abused her position as a Beer Advocate moderator, while Berman also wrote a threat that he would have preferred to have been “approach(ed) (me) privately to discuss her feelings”.
Berman would later go on to say about their labels, that they were meant to be “a little edgy and provocative, not extreme or insulting or offensive. We’re looking to engage people with our sense of humour.”
This certainly brought attention not only to Clownshoes, but also craft beer, a scene that is usually viewed to be stuffy and old hat. For us, these labels are tongue and cheek, but more importantly, the beer speaks for itself.
You can pick up bottles now from our bottle shop in the Northern Monk Refectory!
Bottles available are: