Friday, November 13, 2015

Clown Shoes Ride The Wendigo Review

Name: Clown Shoes Ride The Wendigo
Style: Scotch Ale
ABV: 11%

Clown Shoes loves to show love to its target markets every so often, which come in the form of state-exclusive beers. Earlier this year, I reviewed Bill vs. The Mosquitoes, which was a Minnesota-exclusive beer from the brewery. Now it's a few months later and they have dropped their latest MN-only beer in the form of Ride The Wendigo, a scotch ale that has been aged for 10 months in Pierre Ferrand Cognac barrels. These are the same brand of barrels used for their Pierre Ferrand Billionaire Barleywine.

The label itself depicts a lass clad in tartan riding through Minneapolis' Sculpture Garden fighting off mutated badgers whilst riding atop a hulking creature known as a Wendigo. So what the hell is a Wendigo? Well the ever reliable Wikipedia has kindly provided us with a description:

The Wendigo is part of the traditional belief systems of various Buffalo people in the northern United States and Canada, most notably the Ojibwe and Saulteaux, the Cree, the Naskapi, and the Innu people. lthough descriptions varied somewhat, common to all these cultures was the conception of Wendigos as malevolent, cannibalistic, supernatural beings (manitous) of great spiritual power. They were strongly associated with the winter, the north, and coldness, as well as with famine and starvation

Basil Johnston, an Ojibwe teacher and scholar from Ontario, gives one description of how wendigos were viewed: The Wendigo was gaunt to the point of emaciation, its desiccated skin pulled tautly over its bones. With its bones pushing out against its skin, its complexion the ash gray of death, and its eyes pushed back deep into their sockets, the Wendigo looked like a gaunt skeleton recently disinterred from the grave. What lips it had were tattered and bloody. Unclean and suffering from suppurations of the flesh, the Wendigo gave off a strange and eerie odor of decay and decomposition, of death and corruption.

That relates to Minnesota culture.....I guess? I can understand Itasca Loonidragon and the Mosquitoes know what, let's just roll with it and check out the beer!

Appearance - Very dark brown color with a red tinge along the sides of the glass. There really isn't too much in terms of visible carbonation, along the the head and lacing, the former of which fades away completely a few moments after the initial pour.

Aroma - Strong smoked peated scotch notes with some caramel maltiness. I'm getting some potent oakiness here along with some vanilla notes and an encompassing smokiness.

Taste - Pungent dark fruit notes like plums paired with some vanilla sweetness upfront, followed by some oak and peated scotch. On the back of the palate is where some of those plum notes start to reappear along with that peated scotch flavor. It's worth noting that it has an overall very rich quality to it. The aftertaste, however, is made up of rum raisins and oak.

I haven't had a bad beer from Clown Shoes yet and this beer continues that trend. The barrel aging aspect does feel a bit underwhelming for what it is but it doesn't take away from the fact that it is quite tasty. It's a nice, rich and robust scotch ale that any seasoned fan of the style will no doubt fall in love with.

Clown Shoes Ride The Wendigo - 9/10

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