Beer fans and IPA lovers rejoice, because the 2013 release of Bell’s Hopslam is here. For those of you who are not familiar with this beer, it’s a coveted winter seasonal release put out by Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It typically begins hitting the shelves in mid-January, and you’re lucky to find any by the time March rolls around. While not a beer for everyone, if you’re a hop fan, this is one of the beers you look forward to every year. It’s full of complex hop flavors without being overbearing and balanced nicely with a bit of sweetness. As Bell’s describes it:

Starting with six different hop varietals added to the brew kettle & culminating with a massive dry-hop addition of Simcoe hops, Bell’s Hopslam Ale possesses the most complex hopping schedule in the Bell’s repertoire. Selected specifically because of their aromatic qualities, these Pacific Northwest varieties contribute a pungent blend of grapefruit, stone fruit, and floral notes. A generous malt bill and a solid dollop of honey provide just enough body to keep the balance in check, resulting in a remarkably drinkable rendition of the Double India Pale Ale style.

 

Bell's Hopslam Double IPA

A nice glass of 2013 Bell’s Hopslam.

Because this is a seasonal release and relies heavily on hops, which can vary from harvest to harvest, every year’s release is a little different. This year the beer has excellent balance, which I think it lacked a little bit last year. Also, these beers are best when fresh, so if you want the absolute best tasting Hopslam be sure to get it early if you’re buying bottles. Besides, the way this stuff flies off the shelves, if you wait too long you may not get any at all. If you happened to make it to the South Bend Brewfest in January, Bell’s was there providing samples of some of the very first bottles of the season. If you missed out there, I’d highly recommend seeking it out the next time you’re out to eat at one of the great local restaurants or by picking up a six-pack at the store.

Not that online ratings always mean a whole lot, it is worth noting that the Beer Advocate members have rated it a 100 out of 100, and the Ratebeer folks have rated it the same. Even with all of the amazing craft brew offerings throughout the country, very few achieve that sort of praise. At the very least, this is a beer you’ll want to try at least once for yourself to see how it stacks up.

So, if you’d like to get your hands on this limited release, there are plenty of options available here in Michiana. You will find a broad selection of both restaurants serving it on tap or in bottles and local supermarkets and party stores that carry six-packs. Keep in mind that supplies are limited, and while these locations all receive deliveries of Hopslam, it can and often does sell out quickly. If you have found Hopslam being served somewhere that is not listed, please provide the information in the comments so it can be added to the list.

South Bend and Elkhart Indiana Area

Michigan City / LaPorte Indiana

Benton Harbor / St. Joseph Michigan

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Food is an experience. It's a way to share a bond with friends and family, and most importantly, it's fun. Join me as I explore the local food offerings here in Michiana and share some of my favorite recipes and tools of the trade.

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