Bell’s, located in Kalamazoo, Michigan, has for years been one of the most respected breweries in the upper Midwest. They brew tons of excellent beers, but I feel that this one, HopSlam, has earned a spot near the top of the pile.
HopSlam is an imperial IPA, weighing in at 10% ABV and all kinds of hoppy.
Sampled in a pint glass from a 12-ounce bottle
A vigorous pour releases an amazing bouquet of apricot, evergreen, and tangerine. A frothy, 1-1/2 finger head rests atop a light orange-copper beer. Smells like a delicious, carbonated candy beverage.
Tangerine and apricot flavors right up front, with an astounding candy-like sweetness. If it’s possible for a beer to taste sticky, this one does pulls it off with its resinous, persistent hops presence. While the hops flavor and a great bitterness dominate this beer, they don’t overwhelm a nice malty sweetness. The flavor packed into this beer is like a punch to the mouth – in a good way! – and is followed up by a pleasant grassy aftertaste. As the beer warms, a notable-but-not-overbearing alcohol flavor becomes a player as well.
Moderate carbonation with a slighter-bigger-than-medium body.
This is undeniably a bitter beer, and the hops scour my mouth accordingly… but there’s also enough malt in this beer to take the edge off the hops. For whatever reason, the term that comes to mind for this mouthfeel is “rounded.”
HopSlam is ridiculously drinkable for being 10% ABV — which is to say that there’s not a hint of the alcohol anywhere in the flavor, and you could go on sipping it for quite a while. Having said that, I think more than a couple in a sitting would probably spell the end of the day for me!
As you may understand by now, I absolutely love this beer. It’s widely available in the Twin Cities area, but I’m unsure of other areas of Minnesota. If you spot it anywhere, don’t hesitate to pick it up!