09 Jun Karbach Rodeo Clown Gets a Refresh with Imperial Hazy IPA and Imperial Tropical IPA Variants
Karbach Rodeo Clown Gets a Refresh with Imperial Hazy IPA and Imperial Tropical IPA Variants
Double IPA Series
ABV: 8.3% – 9.5%
Packaging: Draft, 6 pack 12 ounce cans
Yippee Ki Yay, yeehaw, and all that good fun stuff. Rodeo Clown’s back, and he brought some new friends with him. This is one of the beers that made our good friend Josh Olalde fall in love with good beer, and it’s the IPA that won our guy John over in years ago, so I had to dig into this refresh.
Karbach’s Rodeo Clown Double IPA is one of their oldest and most cherished beers. The inspiration behind this dank drink came from the dangerous yet thrilling job of a Karbach founder’s father-in-law, who was a legendary rodeo clown. Knowing he and so many others have such physically challenging and dangerous careers, Karbach set out to create a beer that would honor that risk and give them something to enjoy after a hard day’s work, which led to the creation of Rodeo Clown Double IPA. And now, all these years later, they’re thrilled to continue to pay homage by expanding the Rodeo Clown family with new hoppy Hazy and Tropical IPAs, boasting new aromas and flavors.
Brian Presley, Brand Manager at Karbach, was kind enough to answer some of my questions about the refresh. “Through talking with Rodeo Clown drinkers we learned that the authentic Rodeo elements on the packaging design created a strong familiarity with the Houston Rodeo. With the line extension of Rodeo Clown Imperial Hazy and Rodeo Clown Imperial Tropical IPA, we felt the original Rodeo Clown Double IPA could use a small refresh to enhance the Rodeo Themed essentials that drinkers love so much. Because of this we amplified the clown in the barrel on the pack and added more details to the barrel as well. But Rodeo Clown Double IPA drinkers need not worry, the beer is still the exact same!”
I figured I should put in the hard work of trying all three side by side. Let’s see what the refresh was all about.
The Imperial Tropical one’s light on the tropical notes, but it’s super well-balanced in all other regards. I kind of expected a gush of fruit, but there’s actually a lot of restraint in this big ol’ beer. Sticky mango and citrus combine with a lighter-than expected mouthfeel to make this 9% ABV ultra dangerous. Somehow the dank DIPA finish is still spot on with the OG. I’m stunned at how well they balanced the best of the old and the freshness of the new. It’s a job, and this Imperial Tropical Rodeo Clown sure does it. They may not ride a bull but they can catch this tropical IPA wave.
The Imperial Hazy one’s light slightly light on the haze, but it’s also super well-balanced. All around, it’s the lightest and sweetest of the three. It’s also not as fragrant, but some bright, sticky, orange marmalade notes do present themselves on the dense white head. The 8.3% ABV still goes down a little easier than expected. The Rodeo Clown is used to being surrounded by a cloud of dust as he dances with the bulls to protect the riders. The intense haze in the air of the arena can be compared to that of Rodeo Clown Imperial Hazy IPA.
It seems to me like both of these entries into the Karbach rodeo are a bit more subtle than expected when it comes to their tropical and hazy names, but the subtlety ends there. The same bold, bronc-busting’ kick of dankness and daaangerous drinkability are a dead-ringer. These bad boys drink like crushers, and that’s just about as dangerous as the profession that is their namesake.
Finally, the OG Rodeo Clown remains the same OG. IYKYK, but if not, TLDR. It’s a big, sticky, shockingly drinkable DIPA that’s pound for pound one of the boldest old school IPAs on store shelves. It’s the type of IPA that made many beer industry veterans fall in love with the IPA.
I asked Brian about the relevance of the refresh. I’m not a cowboy by any stretch, so pardon the ignorance. I asked him, “Can a refresh like this help a beer like Rodeo Clown grow in relevance outside of the big rodeo season?”
His reply was a bit more insightful than expected, and the refresh seems to be a bit bigger than just rodeo themes, “Rodeo is such a part of the Houston culture that it doesn’t have to be rodeo season to enjoy. There’s still a growing demand for higher ABV offerings and we think that the addition of Imperial Tropical and Imperial Hazy will bring more attention to the Rodeo Clown brand as a whole and give people new ways to enjoy!”
Brian ended with, “We can’t wait to hear what people think of the new varieties of Rodeo Clown. We’re looking forward to having a pint or two with folks and learning more about what they’d like to continue to see in the future!”
One of the things I appreciate about all of Karbach’s hazies is there’s no hop burn. Developing, bold, hop aromas and flavors is a fine balance that Karbach seems to have dialed in well.
I can’t say that I’ve been buying Rodeo Clown up at each grocery store trip before this, but the refresh and expansion caught my attention, and I’m glad it did. Maybe it’s my marketing brain not being able to turn off, or the fact that the creativity of craft beer is what I find most interesting about the industry, but what really drew me in was the new artwork. I’ve been a part of a few refreshes, and it’s always super cool to be able to pay homage to something old while giving it new life.
Karbach’s designer Dieana Pachuca was super proud of the outcome, and rightly so. That little barrel full of fun and 99% of the visual side of the refresh is her handiwork. Their photographer, and our main man Josh Olalde, sure didn’t hurt the cause with all of his super ok photos (seen above).
Overall, I love seeing Karbach reach back into the vault to celebrate what made them successful enough to bring an AB-Inbev buyout to Houston. Weekend Warrior is also supposed to be coming back, and that was one of my fav beers from Karbach, so I love to see it.
Karbach Rodeo Clown Double IPA
Karbach Rodeo Clown Double IPA
Karbach Rodeo Clown Double IPA has, and continues to be, pound for pound one of the boldest old school IPAs on store shelves. It’s the type of IPA that made many beer industry veterans fall in love with the IPA. These new variants are a super interesting take on the OG, and I wonder if there will be any more to accompany the seasonal return of Weekend Warrior.
User Review( vote)
Beers to you, Houston! 🍻