Reindeer Games | Clown Shoes Beer
Style: Bavarian India Pale Ale
My first impression of this beer is as follows: "Is that Santa? Fighting his reindeer? Okay...that's a bad ass Christmas theme beer...A Bavarian style India Pale?!"
I was surprised to see Santa on the front of the label, mowing down reindeer in this almost comic book style illustration on the can; I had to snag it, I mean, it is the season for surprises. Plus, I typically love IPA's, and I am always on the lookout for something that stands out, especially during the Winter season. So, while it may not be a stout or a porter, if there is Santa slaying reindeer, well, I would try any beer at this point in the season.
This India Pale Ale isn't playing any games in style or profile. The crisp-copper, almost amber hue in its body is a testament to traditional Bavarian-style brewing. You get that in a bold, malty character and aroma. A sweet hint of roasted barley and slight whiff of caramel, sugary notes hit the senses to build up anticipation even before you take that first sip - much like that eagerness of approaching presents and celebration during the holidays. I already found myself eager to taste this IPA!
The foam head is nice and tan with a clear top and has a solid retention throughout. I caught a little haze in the clarity of this beer, and its pale style is shown off in the body. I loved the pronounced initial flavor of roasted notes and caramelized malts followed by a crisp aftertaste as a smooth wave of its hoppy-pine profile cuts through at the finish. This style of beer tends to focus on the importance of minimalist and traditionalist aspects of German brewing to get the proper balance between sweetness and bitterness, and the way these two characteristics come together so well between sips leaves a light-tingling mouth-feel that breaks up the harsh flavors expected in an IPA.
This beer is a new holiday favorite for me, and if you love crispness and/or sweet, Bavarian beers, this might be just the gift for you. For those of you who like pale ales but think IPA's can be too much, Reindeer Games might surprise you.
A big thank you and Merry Christmas to everyone over at Clown Shoes!