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Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week:" Kalamazoo Hop Soulution

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Aug 13, 2008 6:00PM


With apologies to Susan Sarandon in "Bull Durham," "This is the damnedest year. The Cubs and Sox are both in first place and Bell's is back in Chicago." Yes, it is and all is right with the world for now.

Except that the Bell's product won't be rolling out fully until we can finish the Kalamazoo brands. Both Larry Bell and Bell's local sales manager Jim O'Connor told us that the Kalamazoo line will be discontinued, but there's still plenty of it around. Moreover, the global shortage of hops means that not only are we paying more for beer, but Bell's won't be offering certain brands. Specifically, their "Two-Hearted" IPA will not be coming back. Lucky for those of us who like hoppy beers that Bell brewed a complementary brew in Kalamazoo Hop Soulution.

For those of us who doubted Bell's statement that the Kalamazoo line was different from standard Bell's, Hop Soulution confirms it. It's not going to make you forget Two-Hearted — few beers do — but it's a worthy stand-in. Munich malts blend with some serious hops for a heavy mouthfeel, with both spice and citrus competing for your attention. It pours a rich amber in color with a thin head.

We went through our last two bottles of Hop Soulution over the weekend. With Two-Hearted not coming back for the time being, we'll be making a run to local liquor stores for a case of Kalamazoo Hop Soulution Ale, Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week."