Monday, February 8, 2010

A Slam Dunk in 2010: Bell's HopSlam

The Bell's Brewery (formally known as the Kalamazoo Brewing Company) of Galesburg, MI is a legendary America micro brewery. Since 1985 this brewery has been brewing some of America's boldest and most flavorful brews. Their beers are available in 18 states and the District of Columbia. I have not met a beer brewed by Bell's that I did not like, and if you love hops? You will not be disappointed with their January-February limited release beer called HopSlam.

HopSlam is a beer that has come with a lot of hype.  Hop heads (beer lovers who enjoy beers with big hop character) go wild of this one. Its stocks dwindle rapidly, so if you are not on the ball when this one is released at your local store or on draught at your local bar? Odds are you will have to wait until 2011 to get a crack as this one.

 Stylistically this beer could  fall in the the "double" or "Imperial" India Pale Ale category. It is a big, bold, flavorful ale that is brewed with honey and comes in at a mighty 10% abv. Honey helps boost the alcohol but in this beer is also gives it some mouth feel and a touch of honey sweetness. This beer is brewed for the hop head  and is dripping with big, vibrant hop aromas, flavors, and bitterness. So does HopSlam live up to the hype? I'm happy to say, yes it does.

HopSlam pours to a beautiful, deep golden to light amber color, with a tall, frothy, white head that slowly fades, and a lively carbonation. The nose on this beer is amazingly pungent with huge aromas of grape fruit, lemon, and piney aromas of hops. The palate is firm, with very good pale and biscuity malt flavors that support the fantastic hop flavors in this beer. Big flavors of lemon peel, and grape fruit pith dance on the tongue. The honey in this beer gives the beer a nice, slick mouthfeel, yet this beer remains very drinkable. HopSlam finishes with more outstanding citrus hop flavors, then finishes with a long pine/citrus bitterness that lingers.

Outstanding beer with tremendous hop character from start to finish. This one is dangerously drinakble at 10% abv, so beware. If you want to enjoy this beer, you will pay for it. Depending on what market you are in, the price for a 6 pack of HopSlam will range from $14-$19. That is pretty steep for a 6 pack of beer, and its understandable why some would not be willing to pay that much for this beer when you have products on the market that will give you what HopSlam does for about half that price. That being said, I would recommend this beer, and say even if you only try it once, it is well worth trying.

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