Hopslam: The Myth, the Legend, the Hype

There is a really good reason this is my first year finally enjoying the mythical Hopslam.  I had never actually attempted to seek it out before.  I’ve heard about it for two or more years now, but I’ve only really become serious about buying and consuming good beer for the past year or so.  I’ve always enjoyed good beer, but I never tried to hunt for beer.  So this year, I was ready for my prey.  My beer store, Rick’s, has a new way of trying to let everyone know what new beers they have in the store.  They used to have a sign up for the upcoming releases.  That’s how I managed to nab a bottle of Canadian Breakfast Stout, but now they are putting out a notification on Facebook when things become available throughout the week.  So, in the middle of lunch two weeks ago, I checked Facebook on my phone and saw the notification for Hopslam.  The way the store works, they only allowed everyone to reserve one six-pack.  I stopped my conversation at lunch, called, and reserved my six-pack.  Rick’s managed to sell out of all 15 cases in less than 4 hours.

That same night I was hanging out with a good friend, and we had to chill one to share immediately.  Although we were a couple of beers in when we had our eventual taste of Hopslam, I knew I needed to find more of it before it was all gone.  My wife and I have been training for a half marathon as of late, and we run by a fairly good beer store towards the end of our run.  As I was passing by the store late last week, I got the bright idea to look in that store to see if they had any.  I stepped in and immediately saw it sitting there.  I asked real quick how much they had, and I told them I’d be back in a few minutes.  Twenty minutes later I procured my second six-pack.

Bell’s website informs the reader that Hopslam is a double IPA.  I was actually a little surprised that this is a double.  It is incredibly drinkable, which I really like.  The site also informs you that this beer is brewed with six different hop varieties during the brewing process, and it is then dry-hopped with a ton of Simcoe hops.  This really also helps to explain the huge hop flavors that come out of it.

I really get scared doing a review of a beer so many people are very opinionated about, but I want to at least get some of my thoughts down for it.  So take or leave what I have to say, but here is my take on Hopslam.

Hopslam pours out a slightly scary color.  It is this really clear golden yellow color.  Most beers I associate with this color don’t really make it to the top of my list for tasting.  There is a very nice moderate white fluffy head that develops on top of the beer.  The lacing isn’t really all that ample, but there is definitely some nice light lacing that sits on the side of the glass.  Some nice sticky residue sits on the side of the glass after a swirl.  Interestingly, there is no real visible carbonation in the liquid.  I really thought you would see a lot more; however, it is more hazy than I was thinking as well.

The smell is super hoppy and floral.  It’s really interesting that the pine that comes across on the smell isn’t really bitter in a scary off putting way, but it is more in a very floral aromatic way.  It has more floral and less strong pine.  The sweetness from the honey is very apparent on the nose as well.  I really like how the honey complements the floral hops a lot.  There is definitely some earthiness to this one, but it also comes across crisp and clean as well.

The taste here is really intriguing.  The flavors of the hops start somewhat relaxed and become more powerful and intense as the flavor builds.  The beer starts somewhat sweet from the honey, but that sweetness is quickly met by the introduction of the hops.  The hops start rather floral and build into a rather bitter piney hop bite.  I still think the most bitter point of this beer is somewhat more mild than a lot of the other double IPAs I’ve had out there, but I think that is also speaks to its popularity.  The bitterness brings about some tartness near the end and has a rather piney drying ending.

The mouthfeel is really refreshing and clean with a lot of fresh hop flavor.  As I said earlier, the different variety of hops are great because they hit you in different parts of your taste.  The sweetness brought in through the honey is extremely welcoming and completely necessary to the entire flavor profile.  The slight tartness isn’t off putting at all, and I think it only helps add to the depth of it.  The carbonation, although not visible, is certainly there but not overpowering at all.

I was extremely interested in getting my hands on some Hopslam this year.  I have heard about it for years, and I really wanted to know what I was missing out on.  I now know it is one of my favorite IPA’s out there.  If you can find any of these out there still, you definitely need to pick this up.  If you like hops, you’ll love this beer!

Teacher Grade: A

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3 Comments

  1. So far, we haven’t seen our bottles hit shelves. We’ve had like two solid weeks of the beer popping up at various bars on tap. I even had some in a cask, sitting on a bed of Simcoe last week. Honestly, I’ve been letdown so far. The honey is a overwhelming this year. The cask was nice, though. It was actually hoppy enough to fight off the honey. Hopefully, we’ll get our allotment of bottles this week. Bottles are where this beer really shines.

    • Yeah this is where I think I’m a little bit of a let down when it comes to my review of Hopslam. I haven’t enjoyed the other incarnations of the brew, so I really can’t speak to its development. Being the first time I’ve had it, I thought it was pretty good. I would love to find the cask that you’re talking about. Sounds awesome!

  2. Man, I love this beer and hate it, too. I have a 6 reserved if it comes in (the store was promised more than they got). But it’s like $20-something for a 6-pack. Insane! Back in my day you could casually head to the store and pick some up when it came out. Now you have to tie yourself in knots. If I get it this year, this will be my last year. I can’t take the insanity. And the only reason I am getting it this year, even thought he hysteria has me angry, is that I need closure. 🙂


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