Tag Archives: Belgian IPA

Brew Review: Muffin Top

8 May

Brew: Muffin Top

Brewed by: Clown Shoes (Ipswich, MA)

Style: Hoppy Belgian-style Tripel (10.0% ABV)

Another one of the Clown Shoes line up that I picked up while in Chicago on one of my visits. I was told that this one was one of their better ones so I went for it not really knowing what to expect from something that was a mix between a tripel and a belgian-style IPA. Basically two styles that will pit malts against hops and then see who wins I guess. Let the battle begin.

The Muffin Top, first off a weird name for a beer it really has no bearing on the style whatsoever it basically just conjures up somewhat unpleasant images of overweight people in tight jeans, poured out a nice orange/amber color. There was also some dark red floating in there which made for a great looking beer. There was also a nice thick off-white head that rose up about an inch from the surface of the brew.

The smell of the beer had some definite Belgian funk to it which was a part of the IPA where the yeast is allowed to shine through. Cloves, funk, some banana rose up from it. There was also a big malt presence which sides on the tripel region of the style. The hops were also present in the aroma but not huge players quite yet, I just got a faint piney aroma from them.

The taste was somewhat underwhelming. There was obviously a high malt content – tripel style. But there were some bananas that floated around on my tongue and a slight bitterness which made me think more IPA. The one special part was that I couldn’t detect any booze at all. The flavor for being a mix of styles was not very dynamic, there was a nice Belgian touch but not really an IPA because of all the malt that goes into making a tripel.

I think, overall, that these two styles are just to conflicting to blend together and make something new and unique. It wasn’t a bad beer but for what the goal as I think the brewers fell short.

Final Grade: B


Brew Review: Tramp Stamp

3 Oct

Brew: Tramp Stamp

Brewed by: Clown Shoes Brewing (Ipswich, MA)

Style: Belgian Style IPA (7.0% ABV)


Another import from Chicago(though the beer isn’t from Chi, its the closest place to me that offers it), although this one was brought by a lovely lady, however it was brought to me with the top on which was a little disappointing. From what it sounded like this was the best brew offered by Clown Shoes brewing, so I was expecting something pretty good.

This Belgian style IPA came out orange and hazy with some reddish-brown streaks, a pretty cool looking beer, more orange than anything. A little darker orange, kind of like a lighter pumpkin. There was a bubbly inch of big loose head.

The smell was pretty cool, there were the Belgian yeast smells right off the top with some of the IPA hops creeping up as well. Then as the beer warmed and I really got my nose in there I could pick up some weird bananas and cloves, kind of like a hefewiezen. The really cool thing was that it was sort of 1 beer showed up and then the other, first the Belgian ale and then followed distinctly by the Hefe.

The taste was as interesting as the aroma on this beer. Up front it was a thick creamy beer, that brought with it the bitterness of the hops in the IPA part of this beer. The belgian yeasts came across after the hops, although a little bitterness lingers. The malts show up in the end to save the beer with their sweetness.

I liked the bitterness of the hops, they were perfect in the IPA. However the beer was not well blended, you could distinctly taste the different styles, the IPA, Belgian ale and a weird little bit of hefeweizen. Though its not well blended I still enjoyed the fact that I could pick up the different flavors one after the other. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be blended so the flavors couldn’t be picked out from one another, who knows. Either way I liked the beer, this would be one that I would love to try either from the tap or a growler.


Final Grade: B+

Brew Review: La Femme Amere

14 Jun

Brew: La Femme Amere

Brewed by: Tyranena Brewing Company (Lake Mills, WI)

Style: Wisconsin Belgique-Style IPA (??ABV)

I got hand delivered this brew by a great friend, Jacob the Gasoline, a pleasant surprise before a great night.  Tyranena has this series out, brewers gone wild, I have seen the bottles all over the liquor stores.  The label is basically the thing that has turned me off every time.  I know that’s a lame excuse but that’s really the only thing that I can think of as to why I don’t pick some up.  The labels are all the same for each of the series and they are not very appealing in my mind.  So I’m glad Jake brought this one over as I probably wouldn’t have picked it out for myself.

The Femme Amere poured out a solid amber color, rich and deep.  There was a small off white head that disappeared quickly leaving just the light golden/brown nectar.  There wasn’t much to this aroma, it being a Belgian IPA I would have expected more from the yeasts and hops, but it was very small.  The only things I could find was a little yeast and some bready smelling malts.

The taste was definitely better.  I enjoy what American brewers have done with Belgian style IPA’s and pale ales in the last couple years and this one was a solid representation.  The hops were present, the American style showing through, but then the Belgian yeasts took their turn at the podium as well.  The hops were bitter and a little grassy, but a solid combination and balance to the bready malt backbone that was always there.

I would say overall, this wasn’t a stunner.  The brewer probably could have gone a little more wild and creative but it was a solid representation for the style.  The aroma could have been a little more present and that’s why it didn’t get up to a solid B. For a great beer similar to this one, try Harriet Brewing’s West Side Belgian IPA.

Final Grade: B-