Thursday, November 7, 2013

Post #100- Half Marathon Outcome/Clown Shoes "Vampire Slayer"

This is post number 100 on Man Drinks Beer!

When last we met, I wrote about my training for the Ashland Half Marathon at the end of October. To the right here is yours truly, finally crossing the finish line after a pain filled 13.1 miles.

Why pain filled you ask? Because I ran the dumbest race of my life (and that says something!).

First off, the event was very well organized- plentiful and easy to access free parking, easy "day of" number packet pick up, and reasonable lines at the porta johns. The field wasn't too huge, but it was packed at the start.  The course itself was beautiful- lots of trees and woods- except for all those hills! I honestly think they should call this the "Ashland 12 miles of Hills and 1 Sorta Flat Mile at About Mile 9 Half Marathon."

So, the race itself. I ran stupid. Despite a very good training lead up and a good strategy, I ran poorly. Mostly because I abandoned my strategy of going out slow and running consistent splits at about 500 yards. Why? Adrenaline, I guess. I felt great. Thought I could sustain my pace. I felt so good I skipped water stops. Then I hit the hills. And more hills. So I shouldn't have been surprised by the sudden, paralyzing leg cramps I suddenly got at mile 10 (at which point I was still on pace for a sub 2 hour finish, by the way). As the cramps intensified, I hit Green Street, which I learned is also called the "Green Monster" because its a sharp, blind, left hand turn that shoots you straight up the worst hill on the course. Everyone in front of me was walking. Everyone. So I stopped and walked. I thought I'd start running maybe halfway up, but the legs vetoed that action with more massive calve cramps. So I walked.

What you see in the picture here is me after a 47 minute, 3 mile walk/run/limp/curse-fest over the final miles of the course. Thank God the last mile or so is downhill, or I might still be out there! After finishing, I was very concerned over my body's ability to make it home, so I very sadly skipped the Long Trail beer booth, limped to my car, and drove home.

When I did finally feel well enough for a beer, I decided that I needed a strong one to purge the taste of failure from my mouth. Here's what I chose.....

"Vampire Slayer" (Smoked Imperial Stout)
Clown Shoes Brewing, Ipswich MA
11% ABV

Sadly, the cool name of this beer will be discontinued. Get the story here and understand why some lawyers are scum.

The good news is that the beer itself will remain on shelves, albeit under a new name, but with the same awesome recipe!

From the bottle:

"In a world full of uncertainty, hardship, and people trying to hold us back, do we need Vampires, too? Clown Shoes says, “No! Die, monsters, die!” 

Our second anniversary ale incorporates signature dark malts, holy water, and malt smoked locally with hickory, ash, and vampire killing stakes"

History has taught me that Clown Shoes Stouts are outstanding, so it was with eager anticipation that I popped to top off my bottle of Vampire Slayer.

Vampire Slayer pours thick, oily and pitch black into the glass, with a healthy two inches of tan head.

This is an imperial smoked stout, so I expect some smokiness on the nose. What I get is more akin to roasted coffee and cocoa, deep and robust.

Mouthfeel is creamy and thick, with low levels of carbonation, and also reveals the first characteristics of smoke. The body on this beer is wondrous!

Taste is where the smoke really presents- immediately I get smokey peat and roasted malts, profound and tasty, earthy and intense. Boozy at 11% alcohol, the wood smoked malts- over hickory and ash- really stand out in the first few draws from the glass. Resinous hops and bitterness cut the richness of the coffee and burnt cocoa flavors, giving it an amazing balance. Finish is shockingly clean, with a touch of alcohol burn for good measure.

Vampire Slayer is an excellent, excellent stout. The alcohol hits hard, which is my only complaint. The tastes here are amazing, intense and well balanced. Highly recommended.

I would love a version of this at 5% abv.

Have you tried Vampire Slayer? Tell me what you thought of it.


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