In this week’s Hoplinks, 2017 could be the year of “safe” beer, a much sought after beer release is detailed, a pop “icon” aims to brew his own beer, and a local go-to brewer expands distribution.

USA — MarketWatch thinks 2017 will be the year breweries give us “safe” craft beer. As the nations biggest craft brewers continue the push to expand, the thought is sessionable, more approachable beer is the way of the future. While this certainly has merit, we believe there’s never been more creativity and risk taking in the beer industry as exists today. [MarketWatch]

COMSTOCK, MI — Always one of the new year’s most anticipated beer releases, Bell’s released their Hopslam 2017 distribution schedule. Cans of the Double IPA began shipping to lower Michigan this week and will hit Illinois as well as several other states the week of January 9th. The final batch will go out to the rest of the country on January 16th. In other news, Bell’s Oatsmobile will also be available in cans starting this spring. [Bell’s Brewery]

DENMARK — In a move that inspires all kinds of puns, Rick Astley, best known for his 1987 pop hit and 21st century YouTube sensation Never Gonna Give You Up, is looking to create his own beer with Danish brewer Mikkeller. With aspirations of brewing a “fruity pilsner,” Astley is currently looking for a name for his beer. We can think of quite a few suggestions. [Esquire]

CHICAGO — Pipeworks announced they’ll be expanding distribution to Connecticut this year. This marks the third state (also available in New York and Colorado) for the Chicago brewer. Be sure to check out our interview with Master of Barrels Mike Schallau, in which he addresses the difficulties and benefits of being a self distributing brewer. [Beer Street Journal]


Photo of signage outside Bell’s Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo, MI — by Jack Muldowney.