Clown Shoes Tramp Stamp

trampstamp.JPG
Zach Fowle

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.

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. 

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12 comments
Rob Zebeck
Rob Zebeck

Immature names and labels should offend; bad beer should.

Zach, is there a missing negative in his sentence?

Jun Zhang
Jun Zhang

You this passage is too good,I very much agree with your point of view.I like Nike,do you like.Glad to visit my home page nike outlet stores

Rickyn06
Rickyn06

I find the name to be pretty funny. and the beer is pretty good, and definitely worth buying. i assume no one would have a problem with drinking sexual chocolate? why wouldnt you buy it ollllllo?

and for zach: the artist for their labels, who is a girl, said the tin man holding the gas pump is not meant to be symbolic for anything, but more so the exact level where anyone holding a pump would hold it. I never hold it chest high. "sometimes a pipe is just a pipe." http://staceygeorge.com/2011/0...

Andrew: I bought mine at total wine on camelback.

Andrew Kno
Andrew Kno

Belgian IPA? Where did you get this? I don't care what's on the label, I care about what's inside.

Having said that, it's funny that this guy is working hard to get people to *not* take him too seriously. You can't be serious about making beer without sounding a little pretentious, IMO. 

Monica
Monica

Sorry but inmature names and labels that denigrate 50% or more of our society is a reason to not buy this beer.

olllllo
olllllo

You did a good job of reviewing a beer I will probably never buy. 

Zach Fowle
Zach Fowle

Yes, there is. Names and labels should NOT offend. Thanks for the catch. 

olllllo
olllllo

There is plenty of good beer to drink in Phoenix. Without getting into an argument about sexism or taste, this brewer chose to market in a particular way that I don't care for and others find objectionable. Beer is more than what's in the glass.

Sometimes I wont buy a beer because they foiled up the crown with foil and I hate that too.

Rickyn06
Rickyn06

Fair enough. To each their own. I just assume he is trying to be funny, and am not bothered by it.

I dont mind foil, way easier to take off then wax! But wax looks way nicer.

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