“What fun is it being cool if you can't wear a sombrero?"

Brewery and Country of Origin: Clown Shoes Beer of 23 Hayward Street, Ipswich, Massachusetts 01938, USA

Date Reviewed: 4-22-13

There used to be a Mexican restaurant in our home town which, if your family and/or friends secretly informed the waitress that it was your birthday, they'd make you wear a giant sombrero and sing a Spanish birthday song to you. The restaurant made it a custom to get everyone else in the restaurant to clap and sing along. Needless to say, it wasn't what everyone wanted on their birthday. But hilarious if it wasn't you, of course. The word Sombrero in Spanish means hat with brim. The trademark wide brim of the sombrero was developed by Mongolian cavalry in the 13th century. The shade provided by the broad brim of the hat helped to ameliorate the harsh conditions in the Mongolian desert (heat and sunlight). Later, the Spanish made their own version with flat tops called Sombreros, which they brought to Mexico, also known for its excessively hot summers and oppressive sunlight. These hats became widely varied, with many being decorated, used for certain events, and constructed of different materials. Normal hats are made of straw, while more expensive sombreros are made of felt. In Spanish, the word sombrero comes from sombra, meaning shadow. This makes the word Sombrero literally, "shade maker" in English. Mexican versions differ from their Spanish ancestors in that they have a broader brim and a high, conical center crown. Because these were heavier hats, they feature barboquejo (chinstraps). These are known as "Sombrero Charros", to differentiate them from other hats with brims. The Texas cowboy hat was derived from the charros and used for ranchwork. Thanks to the Manila Galleons (Spanish trading ships), trade with the Philippines also brought the sombrero, which eventually became the Tagalog byword for any hat (with or without circular brims). The sombrero's shape has become a cultural icon in both Spain and Mexico, as it is widely recognized throughout the world. It even has a galaxy named after it, M104, known as the Sombrero Galaxy.
Date Sampled: 4-15-13 At: Nick and Leah's Apartment, Brookline, MA, USA
Beer Style: American Double/Imperial Stout
Alcohol by Volume: 9.00%
Serving Type: 1 pt, 6 oz Bottle, 20 Pint Glass
Rating: 2.73


The Chocolate Sombrero has an opaque, slightly cloudy appearance with a small bit of fine sediment included. The color is very dark brown, which lets in no light and emits no glow or shine. This beer pours smoothly with a very small amount of carbonation action, giving it a thin, eighth inch foam head with a medium low density, and a weak retention. This beer does not lace.


This beer has a very strong dark roasted coffee aroma emanating from it, along with some rich sweet chocolate and some nuttiness. There is a fairly noticeable alcoholic tinge present, as well as a slightly metallic aspect. There are no hops or fruity notes in this rather unbalanced aroma, as this beer showcases a malty overtone with some slightly overpowering characteristics.


This is a full bodied beer with a medium low amount of carbonation, a very high viscosity, and a high weight. This beer is definitely a sipper, not good for hot weather, and definitely in limited quantities. This beer has a lingering dull finish and some alcohol induced warming after the close. This beer has a heavy overall feel with a generally smooth texture. Not refreshing, and no crispness.


As indicated by the aroma, this is a very malty beer which features full, bold coffee dark roasted malt and big dark bittersweet chocolate secondary malts. Unfortunately, the flavor profile of this beer is fairly unbalanced as there is no crisp or bitter hoppiness to speak of. The dull, "wet" like lingering aftertaste is sweet and somewhat malty, followed by a burning alcoholic finish. Some slightly nutty notes are detectable as well.

Our Take

Fried Ice Cream. That is what this beer would go well with, for flavor pairing and cultural consistency. Sadly, not every place sells fried ice cream, which is why we probably weren't swayed too much by this one. This is a unique and quirky beer which does have aspects which we found satisfying. This beer has a lot of substance and bold flavors. This beer's higher strength (9.00% ABV) makes it good for cooler weather (not what you'd necessarily find in Mexico). Overall, however, we found many elements of this beer to be harsh, even overpowering in cases. The impact that the alcohol contained in this beer had on the flavor and the aroma was quite distracting and therefore detrimental. The taste was unbalanced, and the darker malts were a bit overpowering. The finish leaves your mouth feeling slightly dirty and tired. And we definitely wouldn't recommend this if you're not into malty beers, or if you're looking for something a bit hoppy. This beer has its place and again, there were certain things about it we did like. But for $10.00 a bottle, and with flavors a bit too much for most to handle, it wasn't what we were looking for.