Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bell's Hopslam

I can always tell when something new and interesting is coming out because the BeerAdvocate trading forum goes absolutely crazy.  Recently, the newest feeding frenzy beers were Bell's Hopslam and Troegs Nugget Nectar.  Luckily, Jose Pistolas put Bell's Hopslam on draft yesterday so I was able to try it without buying an entire six pack of it.  Let me say, it holds up to the hype.
Hopslam is a Double IPA offered by Bell's every January although at 11% it's higher than most other Double IPAs.  Bell's brews this with a number of different types of hops, a lot of malt and some honey.  From all that I've read, the honey only imparts some residual flavors on the beer and not sweetness.  It's used because it's a fully fermentable sugar so a brewer can raise the ABV and lower the gravity (thus drying out the sweetness) without adding other sugar to it.  Take that with a grain of salt though since it's not like I've done any real research on it.

The first thing I noticed was the aroma.  Just a huge amount of citrus mixed with grapefruit or pineapple notes (I honestly don't know if I can tell the difference just by smell, so sue me).  First sip I got a face full of sharp citrus which slowly recedes into a pleasing sweetness.  Very slight lingering bitterness, but it quickly disappears.  Even at 11%, I barely noticed the alcohol at all.  Compared to Brew Works Hop'solutely this beer was a dream to drink.  Maybe it was the glass size, but Hopslam was much closer to a Double IPA than the Hopwine style I got from Hop'solutely.  This should be available anywhere Bell's distributes at least for a week or two, so search out a six-pack.  Only negative is the six-packs are anywhere from $16-$20 so be ready for that.

If anyone is around, look for me at Jose Pistola's on Friday around noon.  They are doing a smoked event and will have 3 smoked beers and some smoked food specials.  Should be a tasty lunch.

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