Clown Shoes to the left of me, Clementines to the right.  Oh my darlin’, oh my darlin’, time to belly up to some delicious Summer Witbier.  Baron Sudsy was the first of the Aleheads to come across Clown Shoes and blessed us with some notes on their well-rounded Black IPA called Hoppy Feet.  Since that time I’ve desperately been waiting for a new addition, and while I missed out on the Brown Angel, I’m happy to report that I’ve found a bottle of the Clementine.  It’s plus 90 in Boston, can’t imagine how a Witbier brewed with clementines, orange peel, and coriander won’t make my world a little bit brighter.

When you come across a Belgian Witbier you’re typically presented with a cloudy, semi-dry offering that’s generally spiced with coriander, grains of paradise and/or white peppercorns, orange and/or lemon peel, and possibly a few other goodies that the brewer will toss in for balance.  Clementines though?  That’s new to me.  Also new to me is the hop varietal that they chose for this brew, which is Summit.  I had to call over to my homebrew shop to see what Summit adds to the brew and the words “Grapefruit, Tangerine, and Citrus” were immediately spewed over the phonelines.  I can’t think of 3 words that I’d rather see on a hot Summer day, so I was hopeful for the Clown Shoes offering before I even cracked the bottle.

I poured by 22oz beauty into a tulip glass, very carefully mind you, and was immediately presented with a vessel of half beer and half head.  Bubbly, check.  The head dissipates quickly and leaves some gorgeous lacing in the glass above a light orange-hued body (Color of cheap orange juice, not deep like the fresh squeezed kind).  Loads of lemon, orange, and well…clementine.  Really smells like you raked your fingernails across the peal of a clementine and have the slick oils remaining on your hands.  Refreshing before the first sip, always a good sign.  Fairly dry taste despite some sweetness on the nose.  Nice lemony finish that’s brilliantly balanced by a touch of spiciness (Bittering hops?  Coriander?  Not sure).  Mouthfeel is light enough to stand alone as a Summer sipper but has enough weight to lend to any Summer fare like BBQ and burgers.  Drinkability is off the charts.  At 6% ABV it’s perfect to line up one after another.

Quite impressed with what Clown Shoes has shown us so far.  Buy their beer, support their efforts, and maybe MA will be blessed with a new brewery in the near future (Not that brewing at Mercury is a bad thing, I can only dream of being in that position).  3.5 hops from me for what might be the best domestic Witbier you’ll come across all summer.  Take that Allagash!


  1. Interesting…Summit is the only varietal used in the Oskar Blues Gubna and I definitely think it does a disservice to that brew. Glad to hear it brings a lot to the table with the Clementine. Hope Clown Shoes gets more recognition so they can ramp up production a bit more. Can’t wait to sample some of their suds next time I’m up in the homeland.

  2. Oh yeah, now I remember where I heard of Summit hops before. I think I tried to block any memory of Gubna out of my mind to reinstill my faith in Oskar Blues. I can understand why they’d use Summit in the Gubna for the grapefruit aromas, but why on earth would they want tangerine showing through in a Double IPA. Cascade (Or most other “C” hops) would have made a lot more sense. Now when we’re talking Witbier, I think the Summit adds everything you could hope for. Nice work, Clown Shoes!

  3. Preferred nomeclature only for you poor bastards out in the Cascades. All of us in the other 47 states will stick with Black IPA. I would think this would be like a Champagne thing for your guys and you’d make us call the style Sparkling Dark Ale if we’re not brewing in WA, OR, or Northern CA. That much I can do and I’ll send a note over to Clown Shoes to make sure they change their labeling for the next run.

    I kid because I’m not drinking Deschutes right now, which saddens me to no end. Please tip one back for me. Of course, what would you choose? They brew the Intergalactic Black IPA AND the Hop in The Dark Cascadian Dark Ale. Save me Jebus!!!

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