Monday, March 3, 2014
Sourcing Suds: Bell's Hopslam (2014)
This is the first article in a new series entitled, "Sourcing Suds," in which I not only review a beer, but also highlight the place where the beer can be found. The people and places pouring for us are what make the craft beer community what it is. I hope to capture some of that craft culture in this new series. Each month, I will highlight a different craft beer location and a beer from their tap list. Enjoy!
Source: Silver Cow
Silver Cow recently opened their doors to the Riverside area of Jacksonville's "Beer District" on King Street. The space is small but packs charm. The exposed brick walls, antique lamps, whiskey barrel table-tops, and dim lighting give a eloquent sophistication that's intriguing and welcoming.
And there's beer.
The Silver Cow has 25 rotating taps that provide craft delights that are sure to please every beer fan. In addition to beer, Silver Cow offers various wines and food dishes.
Owner, Regina Heffington (you might also know her as the Jax Brew Bitch),is usually behind the bar to greet you with a smile as you walk in. And if Regina's not there, her bartender, Kelsey, is just as welcoming and friendly. If you're looking for a cozy neighborhood bar where service truly comes with a smile, then this place is for you.
Silver Cow was one of the first places to tap a keg of Hopslam, and I was there to get a first taste of this year's popular IPA from Kalamazoo.
Brewery: Bell's Brewery
Location: Kalamazoo, MI
Style: Double IPA
The annual release of Bell's Hopslam, and its subsequent appearance on local shelves, never fails to create quite the stir. It's become known as one of the best IPAs in the country and sells out usually within hours of hitting the shelves.
Bell's Hopslam recently made its official appearance in Jacksonville, and like years before, the beer was gone before most people ever knew it was here. If you are one of the fortunate who secured some Hopslam off the shelves, go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back. If you are among the many other less-fortunate, fret no more! Several local bars around the city will begin tapping Hopslam in the coming days (if they haven't already). And this is a beer you want to grab fresh. Trust me.
Appearance: Hopslam was poured in a snifter and is a vibrant amber color and a healthy white head that leaves mild lacing.
Aroma: It's citrusy and fresh smelling. Very appealing. I can also detect an inviting sweetness on the nose, likely honey-related.
Taste: Lemon, grapefruit, pine, and honey. This is surprisingly smooth and drinkable. And the flavors are wonderfully complex. It's a multifaceted IPA that doesn't just wreck the palate by throwing a truckload of hops at your tongue. The bitter hop flavors are balanced by a sweetened malt backbone. The finish is mildly bitter with a touch of honey and lingering pine.
Mouthfeel: This is a full-bodied IPA. At 10%, I wouldn't expect anything less. Hopslam is sweet and sticky, but has plenty of carbonation to keep it from being syrup-like.
Overall: Hopslam is worth the hype. Every year, I expect to be disappointed by this beer. I so badly want to be the one to provide that sobering review that says, "Hopslam is just a Hypeslam!" And yet, every year I find myself at this same conclusion. Hopslam is every bit worthy of the hype. It's just that good.
To read my review of last year's release of Hopslam, click here.
To read more about Silver Cow, check out my full review here.