BATTLE CREEK, MICH. - Bell's Brewery's most anticipated annual beer release not named Oberon arrives in less than a week.
Hopslam (10% alcohol by volume), a double IPA made with honey, is scheduled to launch Wednesday afternoon, according to a countdown on the brewery website.
It's a great way to thaw out from the cold: It's loaded with such bright, hop flavors as mango, grapefruit and pine. It also has a little boozy heat and a lingering, honey-floral finish – with plenty of malty backbone.
"It's not about overwhelming the palate; it's about ending up with this just balanced, drinkable but huge beer," said John Mallett, Bell's director of operations in this Youtube video. "Hopslam itself just embodies what hops taste like. They are just right there in your face."
Just make sure you drink it fresh. The brewery describes the shelf life as three months, and the flavors undergo remarkable changes.
Here's what I found last year: After the first month, dry grapefruit notes and a little more booziness came through. Two months in, the beer seemed smoother, with the honey flavor becoming more obvious.
But after seven months, the bright, delicate hop flavors had substantially faded, leaving a boozier, more more bitter, more toffee-tasting beer.
The American Homebrewers Association ranked Hopslam fifth among the top beers in the United States last year. Bell's, which is one of Michigan's largest brewers and is based near Kalamazoo, was ranked the number one brewery. And Two Hearted Ale (7% ABV), the brewery's year-round IPA, was ranked first among the beers.
Hopslam is to be released in cans, mini kegs and on draft.
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the WZZM 13 app now.
Detroit Free Press