31 March 2009

The Beer Chronicles: Episode One, Or, Ah You Sweet Muse

I mentioned yesterday that I have decided to dabble in beer brewing once again. Who am I kidding, I decided to dabble in beer drinking once again, and the brewing tendencies came back. I started brewing sometime ago with extract. It was good, but it left something to be desired. I transitioned into the world of partials. A combination of extracts, some grains, hops, etc. Now, I've started an all-grain habit with a friend. It's like nothing I can even explain. You just have to do it to understand.

All of that said, I have decide I will share some thought on brewing, beer, and beer reviews along with the updates on cycling, fitness, weight loss (ironic, right?), humor, and the like. With that in mind, any brewers that would like to have their beer reviewed here could feel free to contact me and we can chat about it. As always, I can be contacted in the upper right hand corner of the side bar, right above the LiveStrong thermometer, or you could just click HERE. Just leave your contact info and I'll get in touch with you.

You may remember back a couple of weeks ago I paid a debt of gratitude to Larry Bell, of Bell's Brewery. Bell's has been a favorite of mine for a while, but for some reason I had only had Oberon, which was due to release yesterday through October, but I'm not getting into that right now. Nope, today's homage is to the creme de la creme, Hopslam! Hopslam is a luscious Double Imperial IPA. It's easily one of the most amazing beers I have tried in my life. The complexity of this beer is mind numbing.

The first thing you notice off the bat is the aroma of hops. Hops abound in this 10% ABV beer, but the alcohol is well hidden. Let me say, I wish I had a tulip glass to pour this into, but alas I had to use a pint. There wasn't a whole lot of head to speak of, but the aroma permeated the air upon pouring it. It poured a dark golden honey sort of color, bordering on orange. The pour is ironic to me as the first two notes I got out of it were grapefruit (citrus) and honey. The hops took about three seconds to set in on my tongue, but came on quick. The hops were anything but offensive, they cut just enough of the sweetness to keep the beer from getting too sweet.

This beer was actually a huge shocker to me for a couple of reasons. The first is usually a 10% has a noticeable, and at times almost offensive, alcohol note or heat to it. This has no such taste or feel, at all! Actually, it make the Hopslam a bit dangerous. I could easily start drinking this beer and forget about the alcohol until the third or fourth. You know... When I realize I can't walk any longer. Two, with as much hops, you would think it would just blow our pallet clear out of your mouth. It does no such thing. The honey, which I am guessing is a sweetening agent as I have only read is used in sweetening it, balances it so nicely it drinks incredibly smooth. So smooth I could easily drink it as a session beer if it weren't for the 10% ABV and the price.

As for the price? This comes in at $18.00/ 6 pack, and is worth every penny. Seriously! You'd go to a bar and spend three bucks a bottle for fizzy yellow junk, why not drop three a piece on these, and enjoy them? The catch to this is the release. Hopslam is released once, and only once, per year. They brew it up for a January release, this year January 7, and put in in stores through February. When it's gone, it's gone... You wait till next year. There are a few places around Cleveland that are still sitting on a couple of cases, just need to know where to look, and maybe pull a "who you know" to get some.

I have a couple left in the fridge to drink up now, and have cellared a couple just to compare for future reference. I have a strong feeling I know roughly what will happen. That is, it's likely the hops will tone down, and the sweetness will likely be a little more prevalent. Other than that, only time will tell.

If any of you have tried this, or run out and get some to try, please drop a line in the comments, and let me know what you think. After all, beer also make a great recovery drink! I recommend you try one after a ride!


Jason McGlone said...

I wrote a review of this very same beer, albeit with a hair more adult language, a couple weeks ago: http://www.jasonmcglone.com/?p=442

In spirit, I totally agree with your assessment. Didn't try it after a ride, but I'll put it on the list.

Cycling Phun said...

Good take on the beer, Jason!
Thanks for stopping by, enjoy your visit, and hope to see you again soon!

andy said...

dude...bells is releasing oberon TODAY! woohoo!