I’ll be honest, I’m not a gigantic fan of red ales. or American amber ales. That’s not to say I don’t drink them, or that I don’t like them, it’s just that it’s not my favorite style of beer. Ever since I first tried a sip of Hoppy Feet, a black IPA by Clown Shoes (contract brewed by Mercury Brewing Company out of Ipswich, MA) I was drawn to the Clown shoes line of beer, which led me to try Swagger.
By the way, there is a great article on the Clown Shoes origins found here, it’s a great informative read.
Let’s start with the bottle, if this isn’t some of the sweetest art on a beer bottle, I don’t know what is. The label depicts a peacock dressed in clown shoes, getting out of a red sports car, as he steps on to a red carpet with feathers on display. The artist really captured the element of “swagger” with this one.
On to the beer! This one comes in at 6% ABV, which falls about average for a “red ale,” but I’d argue that this one goes more in the IPA category. Swagger pours a nice fluffy 1 – 1.5 finger head (depending on the pour), and the appearance is a beautiful translucent amber rose color. Upon first smell of the aroma, you’ll notice it’s a very piney, earthy aroma, due mostly to the high amount of Simcoe hops. Immediately, when tasting Swagger, the complexity of the flavors is evident. Upon first sip, it’s like a hops party in your mouth… You get a toasted malty lager taste, along with an earthy taste from the Simcoe hops, and a slight fruity hoppiness from the Citra hops.
The label suggests it’s perfect for a bar-b-que, or a picnic on the beach. I’d have to agree, I think it goes great with warm weather and summertime activities. There’s a lot going on with taste in this one, I actually had to drink two of them just to get a grip on the activity on my pallet, but I have to say, I loved it!
It’s nice to find a beer that definitely falls in the “something different” category, it definitely stands out on it’s own. Not everyone is going to love this one, but it really fits my taste profile like a glove. I’d say if you need a kick in your lager, or if you’re an IPA fan, give this one a try!