Bell’s Hopslam |Kalamazoo, Michigan
B ack in February 15 cases and 2 kegs of Bell’s Hopslam hit the Augusta market. Less than a week later they were gone despite a $18 plus per six price tag. Two local pizza places got the kegs. One case landed at the Vineyard. I held a six in my hand and could only guess at what makes this such a hot item. I didn’t really want to fork out $18 for a beer I might not like. It is a winter seasonal that is available from January-March. It has a recommended shelf life of 6 months but I doubt anyone is going to worry about the shelf life on this one. I had to let it go.
While attending a wine tasting at the Vineyard a month later I mentioned to Roger how I wish I could have tried a Hopslam. He got a puzzled look on face then said “A-ha”. Imagine my surprise when he pulled a lone bottle of Hopslam out of the cooler. How this one went unnoticed is beyond me. I bought it and headed home.
Many super hoppy brews I’ve had tend to be on the bitter side. This is one is a hop loaded brew but it isn’t bitter. I’ve never been a big fan of IPAs but I guess making it a double IPA makes it something different. Very nice strong hop flavors that blend together with a sweetness. Very sweet actually compared to a regular IPA at least in my experience.
I went to their website and found their write up. I don’t know if the sweet fruit forward kind of taste is from the malt, one of the northwest hops or a “solid dollop of honey.” All I know is this is a nice smooth brew that is slammed with hops and very enjoyable. Definitely unfiltered. I held it up to the blue sky and it was a nice cloudy dark amber. The label says 10% ABV. Their website says the original gravity i s1.087.
I guess the heavier nature of this brew is fitting for a winter seasonal.
Here’s their writeup. Starting with six different hop varietals added to the brew kettle & culminating with a massive dry-hop addition of Simcoe hops, Bell’s Hopslam Ale possesses the most complex hopping schedule in the Bell’s repertoire. Selected specifically because of their aromatic qualities, these Pacific Northwest varieties contribute a pungent blend of grapefruit, stone fruit, and floral notes. A generous malt bill and a solid dollop of honey provide just enough body to keep the balance in check, resulting in a remarkably drinkable rendition of the Double India Pale Ale style. –From their Website
This is one brew I wish came out in December so I could get my father-in-law to bring a six down at Christmas. Hopefully buying near the mothership makes it a bit less than $18 for six. I like this brew but I have to admit it’s a bit steep for my wallet. But then again, how often does winter come. At least next time I know what to expect.
Author Dan Doughtie