Clown Shoes Beer has long been known as a brewery that is not afraid to take chances with its beers or its distribution, including releasing various beers that are only available in specific states.

One such release for the Ipswich, Mass.-based brewery was the Texas-exclusive The Good, The Bad & The Unidragon1, a 14 percent ABV Russian imperial stout that uses the brewery’s Blaecorn Unidragon Russian imperial stout (11.5 percent ABV) as its base, but changes things up considerably by using malts grown in Texas by Blackland Malt Co.

Clown Shoes The Good The Bad The Unidragon bottle

According to a post from the brewery on Beer Advocate, the beer also features no dry hopping and no smoked peat malt, incorporating Mesquite smoked malt instead.

The label on the bottle gives a bit more information on the beer:

We brewed this special version of Blaecorn Unidragon using dark malts sourced from Texas, attitude sourced from the burning pit of a bad tempered spirit, and righteous fury from the hand cannons of The Good. As you sit down to a glass, remember, there are two types of people: those who drink unidragons and those whose ashes drift in the breeze.

Clown Shoes also announced it would be releasing another Texas-exclusive beer named A Fistfull of Unidragon, which will also be a 14 percent ABV Russian imperial stout. That is not surprising, since the new beer uses The Good, The Bad & The Unidragon as its base before aging it in bourbon barrels. In addition to the two Texas-only beers, Clown Shoes has released or announced a multitude of other state-exclusive releases, including:

  • Clown Shoes Garden State Rhapsody (12 percent ABV) — imperial stout aged in rye barrels — New Jersey exclusive
  • Clown Shoes Lemon Drop Space Cake (12 percent ABV) — double IPA  — Connecticut exclusive
  • Clown Shoes Ohio Unidragon (11.5 percent ABV) — Russian imperial stout — Ohio exclusive
  • Clown Shoes Itasca Loonidragon (14.5 percent ABV) — Russian imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels— Minnesota exclusive
  • Clown Shoes Exorcism At Sunset (12.5 percent ABV) — imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels — New Jersey exclusive
  • Clown Shoes The Ballad of Minnie Quay (11 percent ABV) — old ale aged in port and whiskey barrels — Michigan exclusive

The Good, The Bad & The Unidragon pours a motor oil black, with a huge three finger head that is mocha brown in color. There seems to be plenty of carbonation in the glass, and the head disappears very slowly, leaving behind a thick lacing that covers the top of the beer. Aroma from the glass is a combination of strong espresso, dark cocoa, malt and oak, with a touch of vanilla.

Clown Shoes The Good The Bad The Unidragon

The first flavors I taste are a rich, dark cocoa note, interspersed with bitter espresso, earth, dark fruit, oak and black licorice. There is a nice sweetness underneath the other flavors that shifts between molasses, toffee and vanilla, and while it is mostly relegated to the finish, it is strong enough to effect the profile in a very positive way. The carbonation level is excellent and the mouthfeel is extremely velvety, almost chewy.

I can taste the alcohol in the beer, especially as it warms up, but it is hidden nicely and is never strong enough that it becomes a focal point in the profile.

Clown Shoes The Good, The Bad & The Unidragon
BREWERY: Clown Shoes Beer
LOCATION: Ipswich, Mass.
STYLE: Russian imperial stout
ABV: 14 percent
IBU: n/a
PRICE: $8.99
RELEASE DATE: September 2014
AVAILABLE IN: 22-ounce bottles
There were a few things that came to mind while I was drinking this beer. One was, "wow, this is smooth," while another was "you know, I am really not noticing the alcohol at all!" That was was true, at least until I tried to stand up after enjoying the entire bomber on my own over an hour period of time. While this is not the most complex of beers, it features a rich profile that is superbly balanced and is dangerously drinkable for such a high ABV stout. The mouthfeel is exceedingly creamy and it only gets better as it warms up. An excellent release that is only made better by using Texas malts and I can't wait to try the barrel-aged version, A Fistfull of Unidragon.
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