Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Hopslam Ale (review)

Beer Review #100

A couple of weeks ago I reviewed Third Coast Old Ale (Review #99). Today I return to Bell's Beer for the 2016 brewing of their much hyped winter seasonal Hopslam Ale. Hopslam is packaged exclusively in kegs and 12 ounce cans. This is the first canned beer I've reviewed since New Belgium Shift (Review #13). Cans still have a bit of a bad reputation in craft brewing. To a lot of people 'can' still says 'macro lager.' Others believe the metal packaging effects the taste of some beers, but to be fair draft beer comes from a metal keg, and yet many of the same people favor draft. I can't speak to the packaging effecting the flavor, as it does not show up in this strong Double IPA, however it cannot be disputed that canning better protects a beer for longer by blocking out all light and exposure to oxygen, to say nothing of being more cost effective. I'd still prefer that my beer come from a bottle or keg, but cans seem like a smart option for craft breweries whose products need to travel long distances to sit on shelves and await buyers.

At 10%ABV with 6 varieties of hops including a massive infusion of Simcoe during dry-hopping, and ample carbonation, Hopslam is a bitter, boozy, beast. If you like head, head you shall receive. Three or four fingers of it at least, which recedes only slowly to reveal a pale-golden-orange ale.

For a beer touting itself as an Imperial IPA the aroma is surprisingly sweet and malty (based on my experience.) Some of that sweetness, no doubt, comes from honey used during brewing. Combined with alcohol the resulting aroma leans somewhat toward a hoppy American Barleywine, albeit with far lighter complexion. Pine and citrus notes, however pull it back into IPA territory.  

As for taste, residual malts and honey provide some sweetness upfront, but after that its all boozy warmth and hop bitterness until the last drop.

Musical Pairing: Arpitanian Lands by Enisum

Twin Tiers Beer Trail:
-Twin Tiers Craft Beer Club (Sayre)
The Jolly Farmer, Waverly (Waverly)
Bluestone Brewing Company (Sayre)
- Diversion Brewing Co. (Chemung)
River Barge Brewing (Wyalusing)
The Grille at the Train Station (Sayre)
River Rat Brew Trail (Central Pa)
Finger Lakes Beer Trail (Southern NY)

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