Beer, Beer, & Better Beer | HopCat

Beer, Beer, & Better Beer

Legendary Bell's Hopslam kicks off 2020 for Michigan craft beer lovers
HopCat Beer Blog | January 6, 2020

Bell's HopslamNew Year’s resolutions for Michigan craft beer lovers: 1) Drink Bell’s Hopslam, 2) See #1.

The year’s first major Michigan beer release is already here, and it’s a doozy. Hop-heads already know what to expect, but for the uninitiated, the Hopslam from Bell’s Brewery is an accurately named double IPA, noted for a profile that contains six different hops, forming a complex balance of pungent, fruity and floral flavors.

Notably, the brew is dry-hopped with a hefty addition of Simcoe hops, a variety from the Pacific Northwest popular for its bitterness and complexity. To offset the powerful flavor combination, Bell’s adds ample malt and a touch of Michigan honey.

Despite what its name might imply, you’re not going to want to slam this one. (If you’re not careful, it might actually slam YOU.) The brew clocks in at a hefty 10% ABV, yet remains a uniquely drinkable example of the double IPA style. It’s one to be savored as slowly lengthening days signal the promise of a new year.

Hopslam is available as of Monday, Jan. 6th at all Michigan HopCat locations, and will be rolling out soon throughout our locations in other states. Join us as soon as you can, because this one rarely stays on draft for long

Read more Comments
Why Oktoberfest starts in September, and other very important facts
BarFly Ventures | September 10, 2019

Das Gud BurgerHere at HopCat, we’re gearing up for Hoptoberfest, which is our version of the traditional Oktoberfest celebration that happens in late September through early October in Germany. Unless you’re on a plane to Munich right now, you should consider joining us as we raise a Hofbrauhaus stein on Saturday, Sept. 21, to the world’s best-known and biggest beer festival, which we'll celebrate through the end of October.

We'll be offering our limited-time-only Das Gud Burger, which features German Smash Burger patties, ham, arugula, stout onions, gound mustard, lettuce and pickle. Each of our locations will be pouring a variety of seasonal beers from Dogfish Head, Sam Adams, New Holland, Warsteiner and other favorites.

Knowledge makes every experience better. Wherever you’re planning to spend Oktoberfest, fortify your brain with some of  these Very Important Facts:

Yes, Oktoberfest starts in September.

Right, but why? Because it’s better drinking weather, basically. The festival began in 1810 and originally lasted from Oct. 12-17. As it became a fixture of Bavarian culture over the years, it expanded in length by starting earlier and earlier, so the revelers were able to continue enjoying themselves on September nights. The official version now lasts from Sept. 21-Oct. 6.

It started as a dry wedding.

Wait, what? Lame, but true. The festival originated in at the celebration of  Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig's marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The public was allowed to watch a celebratory horse race, which is exciting, but they were not served any beer, which is less exciting. The dry festival continued for a few years until 1819 when the horse races were finally replaced by beer suppliers.

Now that there’s beer, people drink a lot of it.

The quantity of beer consumed during a typical Oktoberfest is about 7.7 million liters – more than 2 million gallons.

Americans and Germans drink different beers at Oktoberfest.

There are two types of beer people associate with Oktoberfest: the Marzen and the festbier. The copper-colored Marzen lager was the official beer of Oktoberfest from the 1870s until 1990, when it was replaced by the lighter, golden festbier. The six Munich breweries that are official producers of Oktoberfestbiers continue to brew the original Marzen, but mostly export it to the United States, so depending on your preferences, we may have gotten the good end of the deal. (Note: Most HopCats will be serving both versions at our Hoptoberfest celebrations.)

The Guinness record book has a field day.

Oktoberfest, as you might imagine, is home to some pretty phenomenal world records. There’s the most beer steins carried at once (29). And the world’s largest lederhosen (18x15-ft.) And obviously the world’s largest pretzel (1,728 lbs.)

Paris Hilton is not welcome at Oktoberfest.

The heiress and reality TV star was banned from Oktoberfest in 2007 when she showed up in Munich wearing a dirndl to promote her new brand of canned wine. She hadn’t cleared the appearance with organizers, who banished her permanently. Harsh, but fair.

She might not be welcome at Oktoberfest, but you definitely are. Find your nearest HopCat’s Facebook for more info on Hoptoberfest. Prost!

Read more Comments
Lager Love & Hazy Everything: Our Craft Beer Predictions For 2019
By Adam Roberts, HopCat Regional Beverage Program Manager | January 21, 2019

craft beer in 2019

Every January, beer media publications are full of predictions about what will unfold in the ever-changing world of craft beer during the coming year. Adam Roberts — HopCat’s Regional Beverage Program Manager and a Certified Cicerone — looks into his hazy crystal ball and offers some insight into the beer-style trends that are likely to shape the industry in 2019:

While I’m extremely hopeful that the next big beer trend will be something exciting like a Peanut Butter Brut IPA w/ Sea Salt & Glitter, realistically these predictions might be a little less thrilling. Here’s what I think we’ll see in the always evolving beer world in 2019.

LAGERS

I feel that light, crisp, and refreshing beers have been on the uptick the past few years. The beer schnob (yes, schnob) in all of us has come full-circle and can appreciate just how amazing a well-done Pilsner can be, especially when that’s what the day calls for. I see this continuing into 2019. As long as we don’t overdo it, and revert back to the days of one style fits all, I am fine with this continuing trend.

WHEAT BEERS (aka the original hazy beers)

Not so much a trend as an overlooked fan favorite, I think that wheat beers are right up there with lagers in terms of popularity. Even in the off-season when the breweries bring out their darker, stronger seasonal offerings, I find myself drinking wheat beers. I feel that few breweries notice this, but Michigan-based Bell’s brewing co. makes a winter seasonal, Winter White, and that’s what I’m drinking right now. Take note, breweries. The original “hazy beers” are here to stay!

IPAs

I don’t see standard American IPAs going anywhere anytime soon, despite some predictions to the contrary. They continue to top the most popular beer lists in the many markets. Will they ever stop? This isn’t a trend, this is a fact. People love their favorite IPAs. The trend that continues is the variation to the style we are seeing:

New England-Style IPAs – New England IPAs have experienced an unforeseen boom over the last few years with just about every brewery jumping on the bandwagon, and for good reason. They aren’t quite done yet. The thirst is still there. I think we’ll continue to see new brands pop up in this category through 2019.

Milkshake IPAs - Take a New-England Style IPA, add some lactose (milk sugar) and your favorite fruit. Boom. What you have is a delicious variation on the New-England style. I think you’ll see a few more of these coming out.

Brut IPAs – While not quite as popular as the New-England explosion, I’d wager that we’ll continue to see growth in this sub-category. Brut IPAs utilize an enzyme to convert sugar into much more digestible forms for the yeast, resulting in a bone-dry finish. The secret here (shhhh) is to add a little orange juice and make yourself the best-tasting beermosa you’ve ever had. Brut IPAs are so champagne-esque that the combo works almost too perfectly. Try it and enjoy the trending. Yum.

Hazy everything - With the boom of the New-England IPA style came the trend to haze up everything. Pale Ales, Double IPAs, even lagers. Wait for it. The hazy oatmeal stout is sure to be next.

FLAGSHIP BRANDS

Just like I noted on Lagers, the beer schnob in us all has also come full-circle, and can appreciate just how amazing a well-done core brand can be. Instead of searching for the newest thing, the experienced beer geek has found their favorite, and will drink it over and over again, because it’s good. I expect to see a resurgence in the importance of highlighting flagship brands again. Just look up #FlagshipFebruary.

BIGGEST TREND

Quality craft beers and amazing variety will continue to trend high. Lucky us! Drink up.

 

Read more Comments

Pages