Every year there are a few events which make beer geeks drool in anticipation. The release of Kentucky Breakfast Stout is one of those occasions. Another more hoppy, exciting annual beer release is Bell’s Hopslam. Bell’s Brewery is no doubt the best thing to come out of Kalamazoo, Michigan other than providing Dr. Suess rhyming inspiration. Bell’s is a power house brewery producing staple beers such as Two Hearted and Oberon. Once a year they bring out the big guns, both in prestige and alcohol percentage. The release of the double IPA Hopslam is heralded across the world of beer lovers everywhere for its strong hop flavor. This is not a beer you want to keep in your cellar. The imperial IPA relies on the pungent brightness of the beer, a flavor profile which can go downhill fast. A beer that needs to be urgently drank which is also a limited release? No wonder I got swept along with the hype!
When I saw a six pack of Hopslam at my favorite beer store, I recognized it instantly from all of the smug Instagrams my friends had been posting of them drinking a glass of the two week old beer. I too wanted to join that smug club and try this year’s limited vintage. The first thing of note about Hopslam was my sticker shock at the register. The six cans I had purchased on a whim cost just under $20. I can thank the state I live in for some of that; limited distribution combined with the fourth highest beer tax in the country can make even a common micro-brew increase in cost. Nevertheless, Hopslam is an expensive beer and around $20 a six pack seems to be the going rate.
After being so stressed out that I had installed the car-seat wrong, I drove God’s most precious cargo back to its new home. I am pretty sure carrying my Hopslam home is exactly how a new parent feels. After a brief stint in the fridge, I poured myself a glass and joined the elite beer snobs of the world, at least within the 23 states that Bell’s distributes.
Hopslam by Bell’s Brewery
Imperial India Pale Ale / 10% / 70 IBUs
The first thing I noticed about this beer was its thick mouthfeel. This beer has a double digit alcohol percentage and it won’t let you forget it. This beer balances its strong, dank hop flavor with equal amounts of floral brightness. This is a beer that reminds me why craft beer is so exciting right now and all of the different experiences which come with drinking such a chimeric beverage. The only reason that I removed a pint from its rating is every time I drank one—and I would only have one at a time—I had a hangover the next day.
Hopslam is worth seeking out. After all, it only comes out once a year.
Final Score; four out of five limited editions.