Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hopslam in the House

If it's January, then it's time for the release of Bell's Hopslam Ale, a double secret X-TREME seasonal IPA with a solid following amongst hopheads and for good reason.

Unlike a lot of XPAs, Hopslam actually has some measure of balance, owing to a strong grain bill as well as the addition of honey as an adjunct. It's brewed with six different kinds of hops and then dry-hopped with the ubiquitous, quintessential XPA hop, Simcoe.

The result is a face full of pine and citrus bitterness, mediated somewhat by a subtle sweetness from the honey and malt. It's surprisingly drinkable at 10% ABV, which means if you aren't careful you could find yourself putting that Justin Bieber song you secretly like on the jukebox and dancing to it sans pantalons.

So where can you get it? It's officially being released tomorrow (Monday).  Sidetrack Bar and Grill in Ypsilanti is tapping their keg tonight at the stroke of midnight. Tomorrow, Ashley's Ann Arbor will bust theirs out at 4 p.m., and Bell's rep David Munro will be there to answer questions and hand out swag.  At 8 p.m., David takes his show over to Bar Louie, who also will be pouring this "tongue bruiser of an ale."

If you can't or don't make it out to any of these places, you can pick up sixpacks in stores and – new this year – minikegs as well.  The latter is recommended only if you have a lot of friends to share it with or you are certifiably insane.

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