SAN FRANCISCO — Clowns are scary sewer dwellers and super hoppy beers are only for pretentious assholes with no taste.
ThirstyBear‘s new summer beer and their collaboration with an international organization may help to change your perception. ThirstyBear is teaming up with Clowns Without Borders to release a new beer called Hop Clown. Hop Clown is currently available at ThirstyBear, but this Saturday they will be hosting a family-friendly party that combines good clowns and good beer.
You read that right: there will be clowns at the brewery. Just keep calm and stay with me.
Moshe Cohen, head of the American chapter of Clowns Without Borders, says that he’s tired of the bad rap his fellow clowns get on the daily. He says “most cultures have some kind of humorous person that doesn’t look like a circus clown.” Cohen feels like most of the average person’s hang ups when it comes to clowns comes from fear of their over-the-top makeup. “It looks like they’re hiding,” he says, adding, “when someone’s not embodying funny or lightness you can really feel it.”
Being the embodiment of funny is just one of the missions of Clowns Without Borders. This international organization founded in 1993 has been devoted to spreading joy to beleaguered people all over the world. Cohen himself has been to 15 different countries since he joined the organization as a combination juggler/clown and has visited some really terrible places, like refugee camps full of “forgotten people who are just stuck.”
Since the average age of children in most of these places is 10-years-old, Cohen says it’s important to be able to “give the kids some control of their universe” by making them laugh. He tells one story of a show in a camp in Chiapas, where his usual routine wasn’t getting any laughs. “I felt frustrated so I started making that part of my clown.” Cohen then proceeded to stomp around and bang his fists against things until his play anguish was enough to get the kids, and some adults, laughing. “The humor we do has nothing to do with words,” Cohen says of the work Clowns Without Borders has done, and hopes to do in the future.
Fifty cents from every sale of Hop Clown beer will go towards Clowns Without Borders who are currently working on projects in Kenya, Lebanon, Haiti and many more places.
And what a beer Hop Clown is.
Every time I write about a new beer from ThirstyBear, it becomes my new favorite and Hop Clown is no exception. This bad boy uses five different hops (Magnum, Bravo, Zeus and Wakatu in the kettle and Simcoe for dry hopping) because brewer Brenden Dobel says he wanted a beer “hopped to comical levels.” This double IPA packs a punch at 9.6 percent alcohol and 75-to-80 IBU (because “bitterness isn’t always everyone’s cup of tea,” Dobel says).
And yet this beer is not a stunt or a “too much of a good thing” scenario. Dobel (who, it should be noted, wants everyone to know he doesn’t actually swear that much) calls hoppy for the sake of being hoppy beers, “a bunch of macho bullshit,” and wanted to make sure that Hop Clown was complex, but still drinkable. It is drinkable — dangerously so. The first smell is of bittersweet mango skins and the overall taste is tropical and crisp that has all the complex mouthfeel of hops without any of the dankness. The finish is dry with a sweet hoppiness that doesn’t linger or feel heavy. Dobel suggests pairing Hop Clown with lamb sliders or a cured manchego cheese because “you need something intense to go with this intense beer.”
An RSVP to Saturday’s event will get you a seat, a complimentary appetizer and a chance to see Cohen and the rest of the clowns in action. Stay tuned for ThirstyBear’s next launch, Citra Double Down a single hop double IPA that Dobel says he conceived of after he bought 81 + pounds of Citra that just happened to be on sale.
Even if you can’t make it to the party you owe it to yourself to get down to ThirstyBear and try Hop Clown because it is no joke!