Nick Carr on July 11, 2016 1 Comment Quick Characteristics Brewery: Clown Shoes Beer Location: Ipswich, MA Style: Fruit Beer (Kölsch) ABV: 6.0% IBU: ? Appearance: Liquid summer with tightly-packed white head; Superb clarity and medium carbonation. Aroma: Fruity perfume with subtle mango; Hints of doughy malt, citrus-orange and lemon-grass. Flavor: Maltiness with zing of mango sweetmess; Notes of citrus, light grass and earthiness lead to light bitterness; Crisp finish; Bitter and balanced malty aftertaste. Hops: ? Malts: ? Other Ingredients: Mango Shelf Life: 1 to 3 months Suggested Glass: Stange Serving Temp: 46-48°F Availability: Limited Pairs With: Rock Cod w/ mango salsa, Grilled Bratwurst, Gouda Cheese, Mango Strudel Well, it’s July. Summer is in full swing and with the heat comes the never ending search for light but interesting refreshment. I’ve been pretty successful lately fulfilling both the light and interesting category. Last week, I reviewed a smoked pilsner that was definitely interesting and this week I’ve got a mango Kölsch sitting in front of me. Kölsch is a lot like American Cream ale in that both are brewed with ale yeast at cooler fermentation temperatures. The Kölsch style originated in Cologne Germany, and though it has enjoyed a slight rise in popularity in other parts of the world lately, it remains a rather obscure style. This is probably, at least in part, due to the fact that it is easily dismissed as anything from a pale ale to several lager styles by uninitiated drinkers. Clown Shoes Beer, could be called another phantom brewery, except you’ll always know where the phantom is brewed, Shmaltz Brewing Company in New York, so maybe we’ll use contract brewer in this case…though it’s not as exciting as phantom brewer. The brand was created by Gregg Berman in 2007. He had a wine distribution company and had the idea of adding beer to the company’s portfolio, but found no one that would take the gamble, so he just up and started his own beer brand. One thing that can be said about Clown Shoes is Gregg Berman knows how to market beer. Between his beer’s names and artistic styling they’re easy to pick out and almost impossible not to notice even if you’re not looking for them. The art is always rather cartoon or comic book like, and almost always feature clown shoes somewhere in the caricature. Clown Shoes Beer calls their take on the style an “American Kölsch,” which is appropriate if we look at what characteristics usually signify the use of “American” when describing a style; more hops and a higher ABV. Mangö is a dry hopped Kölsch. The beer is a full point higher than the normal ABV range for the Kölsch style; coming in at a not very sessionable, 6.5%. So, “American” it is… at least in this sense. THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Mangö. If you tasted this beer, please share your thoughts with me in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: Mangö drops into the glass like a summer sun turned liquid. Its clarity is superb allowing a good view of the medium carbonation bubbling up off the bottom. A white head of packed bubbles tops it to the height of a finger, but quickly falls in on itself and disappears within a minute. Aroma brings hints of fruity slightly perfume-like, but very subtle mango. Really the mango is the only thing that comes through when the beer is cold, but as it warms a bit there are hints of doughy malt, orange, and underpinnings of a lemon-grassy quality from the dry hopping. Mouthfeel and Taste: Body is a low-medium but juicy. Carbonation is a peppy medium giving the mouthfeel a zippy quality and adding to the beer’s drying crispness. Taste brings some crackery malt sweetness at the front dancing well with the slight zing of mango sweetness. Mid-palate the mango fruitiness is joined with some backstage orange vocals and the hop band plays a tone of lemon, light grass, earthiness with just a twang of mineral edge. More show of light bitterness toward the back. The mango makes itself the most known here also, though without stealing the whole show. Finish is crisp and demands another sip. Aftertaste is of cracker, bready malt, and is nicely bittering. FINISHING THOUGHTS Clown Shoes’ Mangö was actually a lot better than I expected. The mango addition didn’t overdue its welcome, which is what I’m always afraid of in any sort of beer, but especially when it comes to the styles on the lighter side, where fruit is added and can quickly overwhelm. The dry-hopping is a presence in the aroma, but here again adds to the whole, rather than overbalancing the scales. The malt character is softly doughy and crackery, as it should be, but I feel it could have a bit more of a presence. For me a minor detraction to the beer. The low but firm bitterness will be an inviting draw to those looking for an assertive yet light summer libation. Really, the only thing keeping this from being the total bomb of a summer beer is its ABV. It is well above the usual summer seassionable range. The added alcohol is well hidden and the beer is dangerously easy-drinking, so be aware. Cheers!