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Who says beer has to cost more than milk?

I've reached that stage in the craft beer game where I seem more than happy to spend what can be considered a sensational amount of my hard earned money on beverages that are surely overpriced. When I tell my non-beery friends that I recently enjoyed a great beer in a Manchester bar that was £4.50 for a half pint, they give me the sort of look one gives a man who has announced that he is to write the words of Wordsworth on a Cathedral wall in his own shit. “So that would work out as £9 sterling for a pint of beer?” they will say, in incredulous tones.  Sometimes I require a mirror to give myself a scathing look when I scan bottle menus in similar bars and view anything under £10 as a "bargain."

So, as Joey Tribbiani once asked "Who says wine has to cost more than milk?" tonight I must ask myself whether I could just enjoy great beer on a more reasonable budget? I'm not a rich man. I have plenty of bills and a very active social life to keep up with. Is the beer I love truly worth it?

The scapegoat of this piece is a beer from the Clown Shoes brewery hailing from Ipswich (no not Norfolk, but Massachusetts in the U.S.A.) It is a beer named Hoppy Feet 1.5 and is a Double Black India Pale Ale.  I've chosen this beer as the guinea pig to this experiment because I have never heard of Clown Shoes before, I have never tasted one of their beers before and know nobody who has to give me any sort of reference point to how good they may be. Yet, despite all of this, I still thought this was worth spending £11.49 of the Queen's on. As I could buy 5 bottles of my current favourite beer at my local shop with that, surely this HAS to be worth it.

So let's crack it open. No point referencing it’s colour (let’s just say, it isn’t yellow) but it smells BIG. But more like a big Imperial Stout. It's all raisins, liquorice, chocolate, coffee, sweet caramel, oh just so much on the nose. It's a beer that you breathe in the aroma of to try and get the flavours and then instantly take a swig before you have chance to stop yourself. You're not in control. The urge is a little too much due to that fantastic scent. But the taste is better. It's definitely NOT an Imperial Stout. That hop character is so demanding that it initially finds itself fighting against that roasted malt flavour, like two illicit lovers, before they both come to the realisation that marriage is the best option. They settle down and the final vows are proclaimed over a warmth down the throat that says, "Hey, these nuptials are said with feeling." It's a beer that I'm glad I'm describing as that is the only thing keeping the glass out of my hand and stopping me from inhaling all 650ml of this 10% beaut.

I think we've established that I'm enjoying this beer, but how do we judge whether it was truly worth the money spent? Well, firstly I have no regrets about purchasing this beer. It truly is that good. I feel privileged to have tried it and I'm sure there aren't many people in Britain who have, generally speaking. Secondly, I'm already on the website I purchased the beer from looking at ordering, not only another bottle of this beer, but the other Clown Shoes beers available. They don't do enough of them. I want their full range. They have a Smoked Imperial Stout named Vampire Slayer that I MUST get my hands on even if it requires flying to Massachusetts.

Is beer worth it? You know, sometimes it really, really is.


beersiveknown said…
Would be good if you included links!
Mark Johnson said…
duly noted, consider it updated
beersiveknown said…
Ideal :)

I think sometimes its worth taking a punt on more expensive beers as your review shows

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