Bell's Brewery has recently released its annual Hopslam ale and Scott (who lives in the mid-West where it is possible to purchase beers from Bell's Brewery) knew that this was a beer on my list and offered to pick up a some Hopslams and UPS a couple of them to me. I accepted his offer, he was able to pick some up and get a couple of bottles out to me in a UPS package that also contained a couple of his own home-brewed "Nanci's Brown Ale" (which is a fantastic beer, by the way).
He got them to me last weekend, but it was not until today that I took the time to open one of the Hopslam bottles.
As you might imagine from the name, Hopslam is an IPA (what a surprise, right?) Actually, it is a double IPA. The back of the bottles says it is "a biting, bitter, tongue bruiser of an ale. With a name like Hopslam, what did you expect?" It is also a 10% ABV beer, which is something I didn't take the time to check until I started typing in this blog post. If I say something wildly inappropriate during this post, I blame the alcohol. To be honest, it doesn't taste like a 10% ABV beer to me (this is a good thing). I am feeling the affects now, but never during the glass did I feel like this tasted like a huge beer like this.
And, I gave blood today. Maybe today wasn't the best day to try this ....
Anyway, Hopslam uses a lot of hops and it uses a bunch of different kinds of hops. Bell's websites says it adds 6 different hop varietals in the kettle and a "massive" dry-hop addition of Simcoe. This is a hoppy beer, but it doesn't come across as completely bitter as lots of double IPAs. I think it does a pretty good job of blending those hops into the whole malt bill.
The malt base of the beer is substantial with a slight honey taste (the bottle actually says "brewed with honey"). I do think the beer is pretty well balanced considering how extreme it is in its ingredient list.
Overall, I've had better double IPAs, but I have had much worse ones as well. I'm glad my buddy CrazyBrody is so on top of things to have gotten me this beer so efficiently. Now, if I can only get my act together and return the favor to him.
Hopslam was #5 on my list. I have now tried all 5 of the top 5. I have tried all 10 of the top 10. I have now had 37 of the entire list (52 total). I have far surpassed my expectations of how I would do this year. Scott even says he'll send me a couple of Three Floyds beers (motivation for me to get off my butt and get him some beers). I also have the Avery Maharaja sitting in my fridge right now. I might get well into the 40's on this list. Last year I only got to 25, and was happy to get to 50% (well, a little less than 50% since the list actually had more then 50 on it).
In case you are wondering, here are the ones still left on my "not tried list":
|12. Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine ... limited selection. not sure if I will find this in CO.|
|T16. Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA ... year round beer. Should be able to find in CO.|
|19. Bell’s Expedition Stout ... doesn't distribute to CO. Should have had my sister look for this.|
|T20. Samuel Adams Noble Pils... spring seasonal that I should be able to find in CO.|
|T20. Surly Furious ... I should have made an effort to get this while in MN.|
|T20. Troegs Nugget Nectar ... PA brewery. Can't get in CO.|
|T29. Three Floyds Alpha King ... A Chicago-land beer. Can't get in CO|
|T29. Three Floyds Dark Lord ... available one day a year in April at the brewery|
|T34. Dogfish Head Indian Brown ... year round. Might be able to find in CO.|
|T34. Avery Maharaja ... have a bottle of this in one of my beer fridges|
|T34. Three Floyds Gumballhead ... don't even see this beer on their website.|
|T38. Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA ... limited availability|
|T43. Russian River Blind Pig ... not sure if I will be able to get this in CO.|
|T48. Dark Horse Crooked Tree ... Midwest distribution only.|
|T48. Summit EPA ... Another MN beer I should have had my sister look for.|
You can look at the entire list here: http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/community/news/show?title=2011-best-beers