Even if there had been time to indulge in this beer this afternoon - which there was not, as we were out watching The Force Awakens (!) - I mightn't have drunk it, seeing as it is a chocolate stout, and best suited as a dessert beer. This was not apparent from the incredibly creative name, Bombay Berserker, so thankfully Clown Shoes Beer subtitled it as an 'Indian Style Chocolate Stout'.
Being a fan of curry means I have had a few opportunities to sample beers from the Sub-Continent, especially Kingfisher, which used to have the charming tagline, 'most thrilling chilled!' right on the label. There are also the eponymous Pale Ales of the region, from which we have come to expect degrees of hoppiness ranging from the asertive to the frankly unruly. Neither of these seemed well-positioned to support a chocolate stout, honestly.
Thankfully the copy on the neck label explains that that the Indo element takes the form of chai-spices like cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla, which are clearly apparent from the bouquet. The beer itself is super dark with a generous amount of caramel (or perhaps khaki?) coloured foam, which may have been aided by an awkward pour, as I was distracted by a conversation I was having with my dog. (Simultaneously trying to balance my anger and disappointment that he would repay my generous offer of a hambone by gnawing off the ball of a leg joint and either grinding it up or swallowing it whole, with my heartfelt desire that he neither die nor cost the household thousands in vet bills.)
Where were we? Ah, yes, Bombay Berserker! Well, as aforementioned, I am already a fan of chocolate, and stouts, AND chai, so I was expecting good things from Clown Shoes, and I think I got them. It is tremendously sweet, more from the chai than the chocolate, I think, so it won't be for everybody, and only the sweetest of teeth will desire more than one of these. Since this Bombay Berserker dresses out at a respectable 10% abv, this is nothing but a good thing really.
The cardamom and ginger moderate the sweetness a bit, and although there is a bit of alcohol astringency, it is still pretty smooth for an extra strong stout. There are burnt malt notes at the end that also help to balance things out somewhat, and overall, this is another powerful ale that knows how to behave itself.
I've never tried the Sombrero Mexican-style chocolate stout that Clown Shoes references on the neck label, but Bombay Berserker reminds me of Paddock Woods Heartbreaker, a chocolate stout with hot peppers. Both of these beers are complex, intriguing, and maybe a little offputting up front, but if you like the components, you deserve to try this unconventional combination. Good stuff!