Bell’s Hopslam

Bell’s Brewery, Comstock, MI
Double IPA
10% ABV
12 oz. bottle into tasting glass

I waited 11 long months for this beer to re-appear. Two months ago my friend Craig reminded me the time was nigh. I started salivating. Two weeks ago the Carrboro Beverage man reminded me it was hitting the shelves soon. The drool started falling. Then, on January 5, two days before the official release date, a cart came rolling out at Kroger during a morning grocery run. Perplexed and excited, I stalked the man with the dolly down several aisles. He seemed surprised when I jumped forward, eagerly ripping the tape off the boxes before he could even take his hands off the dolly. “Don’t you want to know how much it costs? I don’t have it priced yet.” I didn’t have the patience to reply.  I took my 6-pack,  perhaps the first Hopslam 6-pack in all of Michigan, or maybe even the world, up to the counter and paid. Beer in hand, finally satisfied, I went home to enjoy my reward. It was 10:00am.

This is not the harsh ale it advertises itself to be with its picture and slogan: “A biting, bitter, tongue bruiser of an ale. With a name like Hopslam, what did you expect?”. Rather, it is  a hoppy nectar of the gods. It smells strongly of the sweetest flowers and honey, slips down your tongue like silk, and finishes with a slight alcohol burn, lest you forget its high gravity. As always, it was well worth the wait.

P.S. One of my favorite youtube videos is of The Metal Madman (note: explicit language) chugging this beer.


~ by nininja on January 15, 2010.

4 Responses to “Bell’s Hopslam”

  1. Beautiful narrative. beautiful beer. Or was. À la recherche du Hopslam perdu>>In search of lost Hopslam.

    Something…happened between the 09 iteration and the 10. Perhaps it was the proliferation of DIPAs/IIPAs in the marketplace. Compared to the nanoknife (cf. the billboard over Main Party Shoppe) precision of HS, most of those are blunt Acheulean hand-axes, thick perfumes. Yet there was a cumulative effect from all these crude ales: they make more apparent the shortcomings of HS, at least this time around: it tastes like a superhopped barley wine (which it is, per Bell’s) prinked up by honey. And I know how you feel about barley wine (-style ales).

    It could be me. My palate is not very sophisticated. Maybe my tastebuds have burnt out from Imperial, Double, and Triple whatevz. Compared to the bright sunlight pouring out of Two-Hearted, Hopslam tastes sepulchral. At least this time round. Or maybe its wonderful hop nose (*>*) has been copied so much, that my memory of first experiencing it (in 07?) has made for a HS that is irretrievable. However, like Miniver Cheevy, I’ll call it fate and keep on drinking.

  2. assonance and colons run amok. Disavow.

  3. My theory is that Hopslam, much like the other hotly-anticipated Bell’s seasonal (Oberon), is constructed as a still-point around which more exciting releases, experimental or otherwise, revolve. Because the market has been so thoroughly saturated with the fine bubbles of Double IPAs, Hopslam’s gravitational magnificence has diminished. Yet we still need Hopslam, not for its intrinsic qualities (or even for memories of our first encounters with its overpriced grandeur), but for how it marks time. To misuse Copernicus: it is not the Hopslam that moves, but us.

  4. Oberon (*gag*)! I’d girdle the earth to avoid this juice.
    175 I’ll put a girdle round about the earth
    176 In forty minutes.


    176 Having once this juice,
    177 I’ll watch Titania when she is asleep,
    178 And drop the liquor of it in her eyes.

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