Ahhh yes. It's the dead of winter here in Michigan and the last couple of years that meant it was time to get kept warm with hopped up Hop Juice that is the 10% abv called Bell's Hop Slam. Things might be a little different this year though now that a couple of other Michigan craft breweries have stepped up to the plate reintroducing their cold season time DIPA's to a select batch of beer drinkers around the country for the season.
Founders Double Trouble
Quite sunrise orange and clear in color. An off white half inch head disappears quite quicly but does leave a patchy cap and a good amount spotty lacing. The aroma is very crisp & bright. Very floral with a sharp spike of pineapple along with some other tropical fruits, deep woods up north air and a whiff or two of some sticky green Mary Jane.
The pungent and earthy hop bomb that this is tickles the tongue at first but it's just a little foreplay cuz then it give the whole mouth a kick of citrus brightness. Notes of honey & malt then step up to smooth everything over. The complexities are great and interesting to the end with the finish of leaving both a spicy & lemony and slight eucalyptus hot bite and a sweet malt tinges down the back of the throat.
Ranking in at 86 IBU's and pushing the 10% abv this isn't something that you could stand around and knock back six in a session. Hell, After a few standing up straight would probably be problem. Though the alcohol content is very nicely hidden it does sneak up so sip contently but wisely and enjoy it's nuances and different characteristics it takes on as it slowly adjusts to the room temperature. A pleasant, warm and mellow buzz on this cold, cold winter night.
Arcadia Hop Rocket
Yep, a hop rocket! Does that mean this is it fuel? Could very well be. A sharp reddish orange in color with an average size cream colored head that goes away fairly quickly but leaves a substantial bit of lacing. An acrid snap of citrus tang jumps out at first sniff. That, along with a bite of alcohol edge, get's a softened by honey & caramel malt characteristics.
A grapefruitish hop sting hits the tastebuds first and burst in the mouth. Then, like with what happened in the aromas, a sweet honey butter flavor smooths overs the bite and hides the +9% abv pretty good. It's finishes with a mango sweetness & lemon tartness that sticks around for a little along with something just little bit peppery too. Interesting contrasts and medium carbonation make for this to be a little easier of drinker than a lot of the hop bombs out there. Based on drinkability alone this could easily be a sessionable but it will decieve you though cuz after a couple you can feel the punch it packs.
It seems that with Arcadia some of their brew are just "meh" while other things hit a home run. Hop Rocket knocks it out of the park.