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And the Valley Drinks: Clown Shoes Luchador en Fuego

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Okay, so the beer isn't exactly Mexican, but it still hits the Cinco de Mayo spirit if you ask me...

Today's a day for drinking as much as anything, and if you're not a tequila or margarita fan, but don't feel like the usual Dos Equis or Coronas, here's a brew that can still get you in that spirit: Clown Shoes Brewing's Luchador En Fuego. This Imperial American Stout takes their Chocolate Sombrero stout, which uses some hints of Mexican-style chocolate and some other spices, and takes it to the Lucha Underground Temple:

Our third anniversary beer up-sizes Chocolate Sombrero, using extra ancho chile and adding chipotle pepper. We aged the brew 100% in Wild Turkey and Heaven Hill bourbon barrels. May it leap onto your palate majestically, like a luchador who flies into the ring from atop the highest rope.

You can find this in bombers, and on draught at a couple places here in town that rotate often. I've had it at the Chimes in the last month or so. It's a pretty thick, robust beer -- and 11 percent alcohol by volume, so its not a session beer at all.

Review

You smell the bourbon, right off the bat and there's no mistaking it. But the spice and the slight bitterness of the roasted malts kind of cut it just enough that this is never too sweet, which can be a problem with bourbon-barrel beers. There are some hints of vanilla on the front end, but it transitions smoothly into that light bitterness, with a flavor that kind of rolls around on your tongue that you never really get too much of any one thing. Very well-balanced. In some ways it tastes like a nice warm Irish coffee -- I actually had it at a breakfast tailgate during last football season. 4.25 out of 5 stars.