Saturday, January 26, 2008

Bell's Hopslam - Not Your Average Double IPA

I'm a big fan of good beer art, and I gotta say two of the best labels I've seen have come in the last week. First it was Troegs Nugget Nectar, and today it's Bell's Hopslam. With a name like "Hopslam" and a picture of a dude (I presume) just getting annihilated by the world's biggest hop cone, this 10% ABV double IPA better deliver some serious hops. The good news is this was also just specially released this January (just like the Nugget) from Bell's, located in Kalamazoo, Michigan, so I know I'm getting it at it's best. And I know I've mentioned before but I have disliked a fair share of the double IPA's I've tried. It's something about the syrupy sweet mouthfeel that turns me off. But what keeps me going is I know there are great double IPA's out there (Pliny the Elder, Ruination, Hop Wallop, Pure Hoppiness for example) and the only way to keep finding new great ones is to keep trying.

It looks pretty hazy poured cold in the picture, but clarifies a bit as it warms up. That's actually a good sign, since I'm sure this beer was dry hopped and then some, and that tends to cause haze. Upon taking a whiff you get a really intense citrus aroma. It's a little different than a lot of the other IPA's you would call citrusy. This one has that resiny sort of feel. Now usually my brain only wants to associate the word "resiny" with some of the piny hop varieties. So anyway, that was something a bit different with this beer. What kind of citrus you might be asking? Well grapefruit of course, and I can pick up some orange peel as well. The taste is an extension of this, especially with the grapefruit. The bitterness is pretty high. It's not that high-alpha-acid bitterness most beers attack you with. No, this is a more like citrus bitter, like sucking on orange or grapefruit rind. And the bitterness is sticky too. It assaults your mouth long after the liquid has descended into the stomach. So while I don't feel as "hopslammed" as the guy on the label, it's a pretty big and tasty double IPA, definitely deserving of it's reputation. 4.3 / A.

No comments: